With news of COVID-19 spreading around the world, Valley school districts and parents are being urged to “plan for when community spread occurs.”
Peoria Unified School District has 37,000 students, most residing in Glendale or Peoria.
Under the “announcements” section of the PUSD website (peoriaunified.org), is the headline “Coronavirus Disease Update.”
The Friday, Feb. 28, posting:
“As you may know, flu season activity is higher than normal this year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently provided updates regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Please know that we are monitoring the spread of this infectious disease closely, alongside Maricopa County Department of Public Health, and can report that there are no current confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our district or Maricopa County. In addition, officials assure us that the risk in our community, at this time, is low.”
The posting included a link to a letter the Maricopa County of Public Health sent Friday to parents and guardians.
The letter stressed, “Currently, there is no confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Maricopa County, meaning the virus is not being spread from person-to-person.
“However, experts predict there will eventually be community spread. MCDPH is preparing for when/if this happens.”
The letter advises “keep children home when they are sick” and “teach your children to always cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
“Remind them to wash their hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer) after they touch their face, use the restroom and before they eat.”
On the second page of the two-page letter signed by Marcy Flanagan, Public Health director, and Rebecca Sunenshine, Disease Control Division medical director, the department urges parents and guardians to think ahead.
“Plan for when community spread occurs.
“Ensure you have a plan to designate a caregiver, such as a family member or neighbor, for a sick child(ren) if you can’t stay home…
“Because most people with COVID-19 have mild disease, the likelihood MCDPH will recommend closing schools is very low, but not zero. In the highly unlikely chance that MCDPH has to shut down your child’s school due to a COVID-19 outbreak, it is important for parents/guardians to have a plan for who will take care of your child.”
The PUSD posting included the same links, as well as the following advice:
“This is a good time to review preventative measures we can all take to stop the spread of respiratory viruses, such as the flu. It is recommended that you conduct frequent hand washing, avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick. A reminder that students with a fever above 100.0 should stay home until they are fever-free for 24-hours.
“Know that our school district is taking precautions inside of our classrooms, in order to ensure a healthy learning environment for your children, such as disinfecting of learning, eating and play spaces, as well as encouraging our staff to take proper preventative measures. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
“We will continue to remain in close contact with county and state health officials regarding the COVID-19 and we will keep you updated with any developments that could impact our community or schools. Should you have additional questions or concerns, you can always reach out to your school nurse, or contact us at the district office at 623-486-6000.”