Published on Feb. 28
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause symptoms of colds. However, this is a “novel” virus, originating in China in late 2019 (hence the name, 2019 Novel Coronavirus). Until recently, this particular strain of coronavirus circulated among animals only. Now it appears to have spread to humans and can be spread between humans. The abbreviated term for this virus is COVID-19.
Current Understanding of Virus
- Symptoms most commonly include: fever with cough or shortness of breath; Some people have fewer or no symptoms at all. Headache, sore throat, and runny nose also occur with this virus.
- Spread is most likely from droplets (cough and sneezing).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health threat, but with health risk from this virus to be low at this time.
- It is not yet known whether people carrying the virus, but have no symptoms, can spread the virus to others.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days, or as long as 14 days, after exposure.
- Most people with this infection will recover on their own. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus infection yet.
- For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care.
What are Schools Doing?
Pivot Charter Schools continues to follow CDC guidance, as well the guidance from public health departments at the State and County levels to keep our student and staff populations safe and healthy.
- All children and staff members with respiratory symptoms and fever (>100.4 F / >38C) should remain home (from school and other activities) until they had no fever for 24 hours, without fever medication.
- A student or staff member who has been to any part of China within the past two weeks should be excluded from school only if that person has signs of a respiratory illness (fever AND cough or shortness of breath).
- A student or staff member who has a history of travel to the Hubei Province of China within the past 14 days should be excluded from school if that student has a sign of a respiratory illness (fever OR cough or shortness of breath).
- A student or staff member who has been in contact with a person with a laboratory-confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus within the past two weeks should be excluded from school only if that student has a sign of a respiratory illness (fever OR cough or shortness of breath).
- Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or recent travel, including to any part of China (other than the conditions above).
- If a student or staff member who has been to China within the past 14 days presents at school with fever and symptoms of either cough or shortness of breath, then a site nurse or health technician will:
- Until the person leaves school, place a surgical mask on that student or staff member if it is tolerated. If possible, keep that person isolated (students must still be visible and supervised by a staff member); otherwise try to keep a 3 foot or more distance between student and others.
- Coordinate whether the site nurse or program nurse for infection control will notify the local public health department for directions on whether the student should be transported via the parent or otherwise to a medical facility for investigation and/or treatment.
- Students (and all individuals) who have visited China within the past two weeks should be advised to call their doctors for instructions if they have fever with either cough or shortness of breath. Healthy members of that household are not required to stay away from school.
- If any student or staff member is suspected to have the virus (i.e., becomes a patient under investigation; or “PUI”) for the Novel Coronavirus, the school will work with public health authorities who will collaborate with that student’s or staff member’s own physician to guide any further restrictions and public notifications.
- As a reminder, all student and staff health information is confidential and cannot be shared with other students or with school site staff. Confidential health information can be shared only with School leaders and with the County Public Health Department.
Basic Prevention of Virus Spread
- Make sure all family members are up-to-date with their flu shots.
- Promote basic hygiene:
- Any coughing or sneezing should be directed into one’s sleeve, rather than into hands or the air.
- Wash hands after using and handling used tissues, after blowing nose, before/after eating, and after toilet use.
- Wash for 20 seconds with soap, rub between fingers and under nails; and then rinse and dry. Use alcohol (60%+) hand gel if sinks are not readily available.
- Avoid rubbing your own eyes, nose and mouth.
- Do not share utensils, cups, etc.
- Stay home when sick.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick.
- Wearing of masks in public is not recommended for Americans by the CDC nor by our local public health department. It will be discouraged in schools. Handwashing is considered the best protection from infectious diseases.
School District Plans if Coronavirus Begins Spreading Locally
School team and administration already work collaboratively with the Sonoma County Public Health Division (our public health department). Pivot Charter Schools will follow all directives to reduce exposure in school. It is the public health department that decides on: quarantines, school closures, and exclusion policy, not the School.
Many students may travel with their families during the Spring Break. The following website should be checked before traveling: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
Information on this virus and how to control its spread may change in the following days and weeks. Pivot Charter Schools will update the information, as it becomes available. Visit the following resources for up to date, accurate information: