Message #3 From Superintendent Burton on COVID-19
Delivered on March 11, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In the Princeton City School District, the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities. With the recently elevated discussion regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the news, we want to take a moment to reinforce our preventive safety measures and provide additional communication.
There has been a great deal of information being reported in the news regarding the Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19. With that in mind, we want to keep our parents, community, students, and staff informed on how the district is responding to this public health concern. Student safety has and will always be our top priority. As mentioned in the previous letter on February 28, we have been deep cleaning all areas of each school and recently purchased a 360 cleaning system. Further, we have been rotating a sanitation aerosol cleaning system that is disinfecting large areas on a daily basis.
We want to assure our school community that we are taking this matter very seriously. While we do have representatives attending bi-weekly county-level meetings, we are monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the local health departments, Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is currently no recommendation from the Ohio Department of Education to close schools. In fact, today Governor DeWine recommended schools remain open, but that officials and families prepare for the possibility of closures. As we monitor the situation, we are making plans to provide alternative educational options if it becomes necessary for our schools to close.
For sporting events, the District will follow guidelines from OHSAA. School events will be considered on a case-by-case basis; cancellations and postponements will be communicated using our normal protocol. While we cannot stop anyone from traveling on their personal time, we encourage those who plan to take spring break trips to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in and around their destination and keep a close eye out for signs and symptoms of the virus upon return. We also highly suggest monitoring the CDC’s travel advisories as these can change quickly.
We continue to encourage our students, staff, and families to be mindful of key preventive measures. The CDC offers some tips on its website that can be useful in avoiding the spread of this and other illnesses.
In addition, please remember that if children are sick, they should not be at school. Students need to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school after any illness. Please refer to the health guidelines outlined on our district website. Keeping children home when they are sick is critical to prevention. As always, we encourage parents to report illness to the school so we accurately know why a student is absent from school. Please make sure that your contact information is updated at the schools and in ProgressBook, and that you are on the relevant school and classroom email lists.
If you have any questions, the Ohio Department of Health has also opened a call center to help with the COVID-19 Response: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Ohio Department of Health Information https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/home
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
News Release from the Ohio High School Athletic Association
from Jerry Snodgrass, Executive Director of OHSAADelivered on March 10, 2020For Immediate Release – March 10, 2020Contact – Tim Stried, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.orgOHSAA Tournaments to Continue with Limited SpectatorsOhio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered most spectators to be kept away from indoor sporting eventsCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday afternoon that all indoor sporting events in Ohio, including high school, collegiate and professional sports, shall continue without most spectators in attendance as Ohio seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.“This will be a very difficult time for our schools and fans, but we cannot ignore the directive of the Governor,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said. “We are pleased that our tournaments can continue and we will soon determine who can attend. However, we can already say that it will most likely be no more than the immediate family of the student-athletes participating in the event.”Boys basketball regional tournament games scheduled for Tuesday night can proceed with fans. The OHSAA will announce Wednesday morning how the tournaments will proceed moving forward.More information will be released as soon as possible, including the process for tickets already sold and what kind of media coverage will be permitted at the state tournaments.The OHSAA girls basketball state tournament begins Thursday at St. John Arena, the wrestling state tournament begins Friday at the Schottenstein Center and the ice hockey state tournament begins Saturday morning at Nationwide Arena.### OHSAA ###
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and to avoid contact with others.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
Hand Washing Expectations
Our schools are reminding students to wash their hands anytime they have used the restroom, and prior to lunch. These are always good habits, and critical to the containment of disease.
Custodial staff will keep soap fully stocked in bathrooms to support these efforts and we are increasing the availability of hand sanitizer stations.
Staff will also reinforce good hygiene and remind students to not touch their face, nose, or mouth, sneeze into a tissue or elbow, and reduce physical hand contact (high fives, fist bumps, etc.).
The links below are of videos you can use to help reinforce the importance of proper handwashing and covering of coughs/sneezes with your children and others.
Videos for older and younger students:
Many parents are already aware this flu season has been a challenge for many of our students and families. We have closely monitored student attendance during this flu season. All of our nurses work with our building principals and custodial staff to report student illness so there can be additional cleaning in those classrooms where increased illness has been reported. We also encourage parents to report illnesses to the school so we accurately know why a student is absent from school. Students should be fever-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school.
Custodial staff members have increased the frequency of cleaning common and high-traffic areas. They have been deep cleaning all areas of each school. Recently, the District purchased a 360 cleaning system. Further, we have been rotating a sanitation aerosol cleaning system that is disinfecting large areas.
Prioritized cleaning includes bathrooms, water fountains, the lunchroom, common spaces, door handles, emergency bar on doors, handrails on stairs, etc. Buses are also receiving additional cleaning. All efforts will be made to keep students healthy and safe. We will continue to explore cleaning options and ensure that best practices are in place.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is coronavirus exactly? It is a new, previously unidentified virus, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Similar coronaviruses cause symptoms of a common cold or upper respiratory illness.
How does it spread? The exact method of contagion is not known at this time. It is known that it is spread from person to person from individuals experiencing fever and cough. Frequent hand washing is encouraged to limit exposure to this, as well as the flu virus.
Should I send my child to school? Just like the flu or common cold, if your child is exhibiting symptoms of fever or cough, they should remain home until they are fever and cough free for 24 hours without medication.
Should my child wear a mask? According to health professionals and the CDC, at this time it is not necessary to invest in surgical face masks and exam gloves. These items provide an illusion of safety when actually, without proper training, proper hand-washing and other preventive steps, the benefits are minimal.
Can we still travel, for example, over spring break? For the latest updates and advice on travel please refer to the CDC’s website.
Are field trips or extracurricular activities going to be canceled? At this point, there has been no change in planned field trips or extracurricular activities. We will continue to operate as usual. We will rely on guidance from the CDC or other Public Health Agencies in our decision making.