North Fayette Valley Community School District
Clermont, Elgin, Fayette, Hawkeye, Wadena, West Union
Proud to be NFV
Contagious Novel Coronavirus Planning
With the advancement of the Novel Coronavirus, which is responsible for the COVID-19, schools and other institutions are being directed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prepare for the outbreak to reach our area. To be clear, as of this writing, there are 3 positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, These folks were on a cruise ship, no community spread. There are no warnings to avoid travel in any states other than Washington State, however many states are seeing increases in cases. We are being proactive and acting on the premise the disease will, at some time, be in our area. Administratively and with the input of our nurses and Gunderson Palmer Community Health we strive to achieve a level of prevention and mitigation through communications and education.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus, and we are learning more about it every day. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. Stopping transmission of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy. More information on COVID-19 is available here.
Schools, working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments. Schools serve students, staff, and visitors from throughout the community. All of these people may have close contact in the school setting, often sharing spaces, equipment, and supplies. CDC
NFV Communication Plan
Our team is watching coronavirus reports from CDC, and Iowa Department of Public Health, (IDPH), World Health Organization (WHO) as well as our local Gunderson Palmer Community Health (GPCH). Our emergency communication plans will be based around our social media plus text messaging and email services to parents. The following will be communications commonly utilized:
- Guidance for the trips our students take will be our first priority Coronavirus messages. These messages will be directed to those involved in those trips as quickly as we can when a decision is made.
- All of our regular administrators monthly newsletters will have Coronavirus updates.
- Upon reports of positive COVID-19 in Iowa, the district will make weekly updates including any guidance provided by IDPH. Parents will receive NFV mass emails, and the website through twitter will alert the general public to communications.
- We will protect personal confidentiality in reports and identifying information cannot be released to the public.
Prevention and Mitigation of COVID-19
NFV’s core message is PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION! CDC, IDPH, and GPCH all agree common sense practices can prevent you from contracting COVID-19. These common sense practices, used with intention and as part of daily routines are successful in protecting anyone from most common contagions, including Coronavirus.
IDPH guidance is to:
- 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 with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Latest evidence indicates the virus is carried on droplets coughed and sneezed into the air, and will be virulent on hard surfaces. The NFV School District will be disinfecting common surfaces on a regular basis, however no amount of daily disinfecting can keep contagons away from doorknobs, sinks, faucets, tables, desks or any flat surfaces for long. Everyone needs to follow the above guidance in order for us to avoid significant disruptions in school and activities.
Prevention is the key. We all need to do our part to stay clear of COVID-19 infections in order to keep the disease out of our schools. Along those lines we must put in some protocols for people who travel. This includes school trips, personal vacations, and large events drawing big crowds. These protocols will include:
- School trips
- NFV Administration in collaboration with NFV School Board will make final decisions on school trips.
- We will cancel a trip if the destination is placed on a travel advisory by the CDC. As of this writing those places are China, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong, S. Korea and Japan. Governor Jay Inslee issued a declaration of emergency for Washington State and King County, Washington.
- Destinations that are reported with “sustained community spread.” will be considered safe for travel until advised by reports otherwise from the destination, IDPH or Gunderson Palmer Community Health.
- If a school group is at a destination where “sustained community spread.” occurs and could impact NFV students, the trip will be shortened and students will return, with follow-up from a medical provider. This will be decided on a case by case basis.
- As always, if a parent does not want their student to go on these trips, you may cancel. Refunds will not be guaranteed. If we can cancel in time to avoid hotel room charges, or if ticketed events will refund our payments we will pass that on to parents. That is not likely, so unless the trip is insured you may not see any refunds.
- Personal Vacations
- If families or individual students and staff are traveling to destinations out of state, or in state, we ask that you report that destination to the office, along with a return date of your trip. This is so that we can track potential exposures to the Coronavirus from those locations.
- If there are potential exposures or the destination reports “sustained community spread.” within the 14 days after returning to school, we reserve the right to deny access to our buildings for those students, staff members or parents who were travelling, and to request 14 day self isolation.
- Vacationers coming our way, who may be carrying Coronavirus or be from a destination where there is “sustained community spread.” will not be allowed in our buildings.
- Large Venue Events
- Things like March Madness where we will have huge crowds in big arenas, or spring break trips, MLB spring training etc. are all very popular destinations, with high probability of contagious diseases involved. Returning to school after such events could carry similar protocols as above for trips and vacations.
- Cancellation of NFV activity events will be considered on a case by case basis.
Other protocols that MAY become necessary should COVID-19 impact our schools:
- Flexible attendance and sick leave policies for students and staff.
- Developing a monitoring system to alert the local health department about increases in absenteeism.
- Identify strategies to continue educating students if schools close (for example, web-based instruction and e-mail).
- At this time the DE does not have authority to waive required days of school, or for crediting distance learning. A long term closure would extend the school year.
- Plans to continue student services (such as, meal and social services) if schools close will be developed.
Symptoms to look for, according to the CDC:
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
Call your doctor if you…
Develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19
Have recently traveled from an area with Widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19
For more information and regular updates check these resources: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Talking to Kids about Covid-19 https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/7/Talking%20to%20Children%20about%20COVID-19%202_26_20%20%281%29.pdf
Strategies to prevent germ spreading https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/prevention/Pages/Germ-Prevention-Strategies.aspx
Board Policy 507.3
GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTING SPREAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE
- Transmission of infectious diseases may occur more readily where close personal contact is involved in student care. Preschool and kindergarten settings, as well as special facilities for handicapped students, need special attention for the prevention of infectious diseases.
- Preventing the spread of infection requires that personal and environmental cleanliness techniques be practiced at all times in every school setting.
- Prior to the enrollment or continued attendance in the regular or special classroom of an infected student, the school nurse shall develop specific procedures appropriate to the student’s age and the stage of development for the specific disease. The school nurse should carry out the following procedures:
- Conduct a health and developmental assessment, including a review of the student’s medical records. Collaborate with parents and physician to ensure that the records are complete.
- Attempt to identify students and school personnel who may be at risk, such as those who are chronically ill, pregnant or taking immunosuppressant medication, if the information is available.
- Identify appropriate personal and environmental cleanliness techniques in accordance with student and staff needs.
- If the regular education program cannot be modified and the student is identified as an individual with exceptional needs, write appropriate health objectives for the student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP).
- Orient and train all staff members, including custodians, substitute teachers, volunteers and bus drivers. Orientation and training must be ongoing and must be scheduled to include new personnel.
- Maintain ongoing communication with parents and the primary physician regarding the student’s status.
- Verify the school district’s efforts to prevent the spread of infection and to protect the health of employees and students by documenting the training and supervision of employees.
Further Directions can be found in Board Policy 507.3R1 at North Fayette Board Policies