Coronavirus Update - March 9, 2020
Dear Chappaqua School District Families,
This afternoon, I received additional guidance through a joint communication from the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department. Below, I have shared several excerpts for your immediate consideration. A copy of the full document can be viewed here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for P-12 Schools.
As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, there will likely be changes to the guidance provided by the NYS Department of Health and NYS Education Department. I will continue to update you as appropriate and will notify you immediately should I have to close your child's school. We remain vigilant in our response to the coronavirus. Your child's principal continues to be ready to assist you should you have any concerns.
Christine Ackerman, PhD
Superintendent of Schools
Excerpts from the Joint Memo from the NYS Dept. of Health and NYS Education Dept. for Your Immediate Consideration
TRAVEL - Subheading in Guidance Memo: Travel Related Considerations for Schools
NYS DOH currently recommends:
Students and faculty returning from currently impacted countries or regions of impacted countries will be required to be under precautionary quarantine for 14 days upon return. This includes school sponsored travel or individual travel (spring break).
ILL STUDENT / STAFF DURING THE SCHOOL DAY - Subheading in Guidance Memo: Separate ill Students and Staff
Students and staff who develop respiratory illness symptoms during the school day should be isolated promptly in a room separate from others. If a separate room is not available, maintain at least a 6-foot distance between ill persons. If a student or staff person reports to the school nurse with respiratory illness symptoms and cannot be isolated from others, it is recommended that a simple facemask (i.e. surgical mask), if available, is provided to her/him to prevent possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home.
CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 STUDENTS/STAFF - Subheading in Guidance Memo: Guidance for Schools with Identified Cases of COVID-19 in Their Community
The local health department will notify schools if and when a school must close due to COVID-19 and when a school can reopen. School administrators should work in close collaboration and coordination with the state and local health officials to close school and/or cancel large events. Schools are not expected to make decisions about closing or canceling events due to COVID-19 on their own.
When a student or staff member attended school prior to being confirmed as a COVID-19 case, New York State Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure, in order to begin an investigation to determine the contacts that the individual may have had within the school environment.
In addition, students and staff who are well but are taking care of, or share a home with, someone with a case of COVID-19 must not attend school and must follow precautionary quarantine instructions from State health officials, who will determine when it is safe for them to return to school.
Schools should work with the state and local health departments to communicate the possible COVID-19 exposure. This communication to the school community should align with the communication plan in the school's emergency operations plan. In such a circumstance, it is critical to maintain confidentiality of the student or staff member as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
TALKING TO STUDENTS - Subheading in Guidance Memo: Mental Health Needs
Schools can assist school and community members who feel anxious regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, they can be a source of valid information to assist in dispelling rumors and misunderstandings. Below are resources that address mental health needs of students and communities during an infectious disease outbreak. In addition to utilizing the mental health professionals in schools, available resources to assist schools include:
- Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
- Fear of Coronavirus- A Good Time to Talk to Kids About Keeping Fears Realistic and Manageable
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News, Jan. 28, 2020
- How Do You Talk to Children About Coronavirus? Stay Honest and Simple to Avoid Anxiety
Gene Myers, NorthJersey.com, USA Today, Feb. 28, 2020
- How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus (and Ease Their Fears)
Vivian Manning-Schaffel, NBC News, Updated March 2, 2020
Prior District Notifications:
- Coronavirus Update - March 8, 2020 (schools will be open on 3/9)
- Coronavirus Update - February 27, 2020
- Coronavirus (2019-nCoV / COVID-19) - February 6, 2020
- CDC's 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