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News from Edmonds School District on coronavirus

'Stigma will not help to fight the illness; ground yourself in the facts'

 
Series: COVID-19 | Story 1

Last updated 2/28/2020 at 9:10am

The Edmonds School District reports that it continues to monitor the latest information from the Department of Health and the Snohomish Health District regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

"We are also following direction from the CDC, which says to use Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza from 2017 as guidance," said spokeswoman Harmony Weinberg.

"District officials are having ongoing meetings to discuss the coronavirus and its potential effects on our students and staff. Our nurses are working very closely with health officials and are keeping district leadership updated on developments.

In the meantime, Weinberg said, the district continues to use precautions for what is typically recommended to prevent the spread of germs in schools. To reduce the risk of getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, it encourages school communities to take simple steps, which will also help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These include:

- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

- Avoid contact with people who are sick.

- Stay home while sick and avoid close contact with others.

- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.

Any students, staff, and volunteers who present with fever, coughing and shortness of breath will be asked to go home as they are too sick to be at school, Weinberg said.

Letter sent to parents and guardians

Dear Edmonds School District families,

Many of you have heard or seen news about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We want to assure you we are working closely with the Snohomish Health District to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our students healthy.

What is happening?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor an outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. There have been multiple cases confirmed in the United States. The CDC and local public health departments have established an Incident Management System to coordinate the public health response in our area. While public health officials consider this to be a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general public is considered low at this time.

The Washington State Department of Health and Snohomish Public Health District want to ensure our community is aware that they are working to keep us all informed every day. The multi-agency public response to Washington's first case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is ongoing.

What is the Edmonds School District doing?

As a school district, we are in communication with local public health authorities about this virus and we will be informed by Snohomish Health District if there is a concern to our school community. We will work with them to safeguard our school community if any immediate risk presents itself.

More questions?

The state's Department of Health has established a call center to address community questions. These questions could include wanting more information about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms. Please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. The Snohomish Health District has also put together a fact sheet that you may find beneficial.

Symptoms

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is concerning because it's a new strain of the virus and can cause pneumonia. Symptoms can include:

– Fever

– Cough

– Shortness of breath

– Reduce the risk

There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

– Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

It is also important for people to contact a health care provider and stay home if they are presenting with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is important for people to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze, and wash their hands.

I want to thank our students, families, and staff for doing their part to keep our school communities healthy.

Please take care,

Dr. Kristine McDuffy

Superintendent

New message from district Feb. 27

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

Dear students, families and staff,

There is growing concern about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and how schools are preparing. We want you to know we are working diligently with the Snohomish Health District and are tracking COVID-19 carefully, and making plans should it present a more significant threat to the health of our community.

Although the current risk to people in Snohomish County from COVID-19 remains low, it is increasingly likely that it will spread to the U.S. at some point. There has been one confirmed case to date in Snohomish County, and that individual has fully recovered.

We know that people are concerned about this situation. We share your concerns, but want you to know that the Edmonds School District and the Snohomish Health District continue to focus on preparing. Now is the time for our schools, staff, families and community members to begin preparing as well.

Keeping our schools clean

Schools are utilizing daily classroom disinfecting procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes using recommended disinfectants to wipe down common frequent contact areas on a daily basis, such as desks, door knobs, phone handsets, etc. We are also encouraging students and staff to practice frequent hand washing, particularly before mealtimes and after recess. Health officials are not recommending the use of face masks for the general public.

Help minimize the spread of illnesses

Please support your school's efforts to minimize the spread of illnesses. The best steps you can take are the same ones that help prevent other respiratory illnesses like the flu. This includes all students, staff and families being vigilant in:

Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Staying at home away from others if you are sick

Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces, especially "high-touch" ones like doorknobs, counters, light switches, or remotes

Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throwing the tissue in the trash and washing your hands

There are currently no school settings located in Snohomish County for which the Snohomish Health District is considering the need for closure. The scientific basis for school closures in outbreak or pandemic settings is situation-dependent. Decisions on canceling school-related events or closing schools for a period of time would be made in coordination with the school district and the Snohomish Health District.

Stigma will not help to fight the illness; ground yourself in the facts.

It is important to remember that, while this virus was first identified in China, it is not linked to any ethnic or racial group. Please use and share reliable sources of information on the novel coronavirus and read the article, Stigma will not help to fight the illness, for details on reducing stigma and bias. The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public at 1-800-525-0127 and press #. Additional information and resources are available on the Snohomish Health District website.

Thank you to our students, families, and staff for doing their part to keep our school communities healthy.

Please take care,

Superintendent Dr. Kristine McDuffy and the Snohomish Health District

 

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