As public health officials monitor the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world, we are writing today to let you know about our plans to keep our Broadoaks community healthy. While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help respond and limit the impact of this emerging public threat. Please rest assured that we will stay informed by following the directives of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Please check the sites listed in this email frequently for the latest information.
On February 27, 2020 Jennifer Brown and Agnes Vasquez participated in a telebriefing with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for Early Care, Colleges and Universities on the novel coronavirus. Per the LA County Department of Public Health, novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed in many travelers in the United States and other countries. Precautions and screenings necessary are conducted at the local airports. This information is also consistent with the latest information sent by Community Care Licensing (PIN 20-02-CCP CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES FOR CHILD CARE SETTINGS).
For up-to-date information you can visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/, the California Department of Public Health website at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx, and/or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html that were provided by the last PIN from Community Care Licensing.
At Broadoaks we will continue to be hyper-vigilant in cleaning door handles, toys, manipulatives, tables, chairs, faucets, water fountains, etc. daily with Clorox wipes to prevent the spread of germs. Kori Vartanian and Agnes Vasquez personally met with the children and teachers at each grade level, preschool through eighth grade, to discuss the steps necessary to reduce the spread of illness at our school at an age-appropriate level. For example, they did not use the word “coronavirus” with preschoolers but did with grades K-8.
The LA County Public Health Department recommends the following preventative measures that are in line with our daily practices and policies at Broadoaks:
-Stay home when you are sick.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Broadoaks provides antibacterial soap unless parents send a substitute product labeled with their child’s first and last name.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
-Limit close contact with people who are sick.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve.
-Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are ill.
-Get flu vaccinations.
-Staff and students who are ill should remain home; persons who have been ill should be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
-Separate students and staff who get sick at school from others until they can go home.
-Provide adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, and paper towels.
-Encourage routine surface cleaning and disinfection through education, policy, and the provision of supplies.
As a reminder, children must be kept at home when they are ill and for at least 24 hours (medication free) after fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The Broadoaks policy is to send children home if their temperature is 100.5 or higher. A good indicator along with a temperature (or lack of) is energy level. If a child is lethargic and not able to participate but does not have a fever, that is still reason enough to contact the parent and send a child home. With or without a fever, vomiting or diarrhea is cause to immediately send a child home. Additional reasons, other than those listed above, for sending a child home ill include: excessive coughing, excessive nasal discharge (green, yellow, other), rash, complaints of headache, stomach complaints (ache, nausea, other), swollen or red eyes (conjunctivitis), lice.
In addition, we will be following the policies and procedures put in place for the Whittier College community. Whittier College sent the following communication to the campus community on March 2, 2020 regarding novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19):
“Whittier College has received questions concerning our procedures for monitoring for the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as it pertains to members of our community who have returned to or are arriving on campus from any of the areas most affected by the disease (including China, Japan, Iran, Italy, and South Korea). In response, the College adopts the following procedure to support faculty, staff, students, and visitors. This procedure covers members of the College community regardless of whether they were in an affected area for College business, educational purposes, or personal travel, as well as visitors coming to the College. This procedure is aligned with the January 31, 2020 declaration by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding a public health emergency for the nation. ARRIVING FROM ANY PARTICULAR AREA AFFECTED BY THE 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS AFTER FEBRUARY 15, 2020: Faculty, staff, students, or visitors arriving on or after February 15, 2020 should not return to campus until 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. This is an expectation of the College for those arriving to the U.S. between February 15 and March 2. It is an expectation of the College and a requirement of the United States for those arriving on or after March 2, 2020. We recommend that students and campus employees avoid non-essential travel to countries in Asia and Europe (including China, Japan, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) where the CDC has identified that sustained transmission of COVID-19 has transpired, or where the virus has spread. Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. We also ask that employees inform supervisors prior to their scheduled travel dates if they are traveling to an affected area so that we are aware of employees who are going to those areas and could possibly be exposed to the disease. Upon your return we ask that you schedule an appointment with your physician to get clearance to return to your regular work/school duties at the end of the 14-day period. Employees have the option to use sick or vacation time during the 14-day waiting period. Please note that we are acutely aware of the difficulty that this action places upon the individual and the office/department/area in which you work. The College will work with supervisors to help arrange work/school accommodations while you are away from campus.
Additional information/resources can be found on the following websites: Whittier College Health Alert
We thank you in advance for placing the safety of your friends, colleagues, and community above your individual needs during this very difficult time. In addition, we suggest that you take everyday CDC-recommended preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
Beyond the current novel coronavirus situation, we should all continue to take steps to reduce the spread of illnesses at our school—especially during cold and flu season. Again, please assist us in this regard by keeping your student home if he or she is sick. As a reminder, students will be given additional time to complete and submit tests and assignments if they miss these due to illness. Also, if your child is seen by the doctor for any reason, request a note authorizing your child to return to school. Keeping your student home when he or she is sick is the best way to contain illness and prevent infecting others.
Please rest assured that we will notify all parents of any changes to our strategy, should it become necessary in response to future developments. Thank you to all parents for taking the time to read this and for working together to prevent the transmission of all illnesses.
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