Admin

Message about COVID-19 Coronavirus

Message About COVID-19 Coronavirus
Posted on 03/02/2020
Hand washing

As you have heard in the news, concerns have been growing about the new coronavirus, now called COVID-19. 

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, and to better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. 

For confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe.  Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. However, individual risk is dependent on exposure. For the general American public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. Therefore, health experts have advised that there is no need at this time to cancel school, athletic or social events. 

Prevention

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The Norwalk Health Department has recommended the following steps to help protect against the spread of this virus. 

  • Wash your hands well and frequently. Wash for at least 20 seconds, rubbing the front and back of your hands and in between fingers. (For children, suggest they sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to themselves at a slow pace, so that they are washing long enough to be effective.) Wash more frequently than you do now. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, and air dry. Learn more about proper handwashing here.
  • Avoid touching your face. Viruses like COVID-19 or flu can enter our bodies if we get germs on our hands or fingers and then touch our mouths, nose, or eyes. It can be a tough habit to break, so start practicing now.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Viruses like COVID-19 spread through droplets when people cough, sneeze, and talk. By keeping your distance from people who are coughing, sneezing, or are otherwise ill, you can try to avoid those droplets.
  • If you or your child feel sick, stay home from work or school, and call your doctor to determine the need for medical attention.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Practice other “infection protection” habits. For example, replace handshakes with elbow-bumps or use no-touch greetings, push elevator buttons with your knuckle instead of your fingertip, don’t share cups or utensils.

A note about masks: The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.

What is Norwalk Public Schools Doing?

NPS is closely monitoring the situation, working closely with our local health professionals. We are consulting with the Norwalk Health Department, and following guidance from Connecticut Department of Public Health and Connecticut Department of Education. We will follow all recommended protocols from health experts should a case be confirmed in the community. In addition:

  • Reminders about hygiene and hand-washing will be emphasized at all schools.
  • Students or staff who have symptoms of respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not return to school until cleared by a doctor. If your child will be absent from school due to an illness, please contact your child’s school.
  • Custodians have been reminded to clean and disinfect school thoroughly, with a particular emphasis on touch points such as door handles, tables and desks. Availability of ample cleaning supplies has been confirmed at all buildings.  
  • International field trips scheduled for the coming weeks are being reviewed. These include trips scheduled for visiting exchange students to arrive in Norwalk as well. We are monitoring the CDC website for travel advisories.   

While the health of our families and staff will remain the number one priority, we are also having discussions on how to provide learning opportunities for students if they must be out of school for an extended period. Options may include providing lessons online or via email. We are hopeful that we will not need to close a school due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, but parents should think through their own plans for work and child care, just in case. 

For More Information

This is an evolving situation, with a lot of potential for rumors and speculation. We encourage you to keep up-to-date on the facts about COVID-19 coronavirus, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following official websites: 

City of Norwalk website:  https://www.norwalkct.org/1897/COVID-19

Connecticut State Department of Health website:  https://portal.ct.gov/DPH

Center for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV

World Health Organizationhttps://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus 

We will continue to share information and updates as we receive them.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Frank Costanzo

Chief of School Operations