February 6, 2020
Dear Chappaqua Central School District Families,
I am writing to provide an update on the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). I understand there may be concerns about the spread of this virus in our school community. While there are no confirmed cases in the region, we are actively monitoring this situation. We have consulted with our school district physicians since the initial outbreak, our principals have met with their school nurses to review the Department of Health guidance documents and our nursing team has met with the District Administration and school physician to ensure our proactive approach is consistent across our schools.
The NYS Department of Health, NYS Education Department, and the Center for Disease Control, have provided clear guidance for school districts. Rest assured that our actions have been, and will continue to be, in alignment with these recommendations.
In spite of recent discriminatory actions related to the virus, which have been spotlighted in the media, as a school community, we will continue to stand together to ensure that all children and families feel welcome and supported.
If you have questions or concerns regarding any of the below information, please reach out to your school's nurse or building principal.
Christine Ackerman, PhD
Superintendent of Schools
Coronavirus Guidance & Resources
CCSD has received a joint briefing by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Education which is outlined below. At this time, there are no confirmed cases in New York State and the risk to residents and students is low.
What do we know? Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found HERE.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China. Symptoms Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- CDC's dedicated 2019-nCoV website
- NYS Department of Health's dedicated 2019-nCoV website
- NYS Department of Health directory of local health departments
- New York State Center for School Health website
- NYS Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
General Wellness Reminders
As a reminder, winter is a time when illnesses are common in our region. Please review the steps below to determine whether or not your child should go to school.
Important Steps to Take if Your Child is Sick
Should I send my child to school today? This is a challenging question that arises whenever your child is not feeling 100%. It is difficult to create a definitive policy that covers all possibilities. The goal is to serve both the child's best interests as well as those of the rest of the school community.
- Is your child well enough to pay attention, learn, and participate in school activities? Most likely the answer is "no" if he/she is more tired than usual, persistently coughing, has a constantly runny nose or eye, or is in pain.
- Does your child have an illness that may spread within the school setting?
- Younger elementary school children are less reliable with hand washing and routinely covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
- Fever is almost always a sign of acute infection and likely contagiousness, and therefore a reason to stay home.
From the American Academy of Pediatrics
Parents often face the difficult decision of whether to keep a child home from school. Experts advise sending a child to school only if he or she is well enough to learn. This means the child's symptoms do not disrupt his or her ability to concentrate in class and do not distract classmates.
Symptoms that may warrant a day at home or visit to the doctor include:
- Persistent fever: Oral temperature >100.4º Fahrenheit.
- Severe sore throat, especially when accompanied by a fever.
- A significant rash, particularly when other symptoms, such as fever, are present.
- Persistent nasal discharge, particularly if greenish or yellowish.
- Severe ear pain.
- A persistent or uncontrolled cough.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Severe headache, especially with a fever.
Parents can allow children to return to school after symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours.