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Coronavirus Protocol, Procedures & Resources

Coronavirus Procedures Protocol and Resources
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Windham Northeast Supervisory Union  COVID 19 

Release by The Superintendent of school on March 3, 2020

 

The below information was taken from www.healthvermont.gov  

 

To prepare for possible community transmission of COVID-19, the most important thing for schools to do now is a plan and prepare. As the global outbreak evolves, schools should prepare for the possibility of community-level outbreaks. Schools want to be ready if COVID-19 does appear in their communities.

Childcare and K-12 school administrators nationwide can take steps to help stop or slow the spread of respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19:

  • Review, update and implement emergency operations plans (EOPs). This should be done in collaboration with local health departments and other relevant partners. Focus on the components, or annexes, of the plans that address infectious disease outbreaks.

Ensure the plan includes strategies to reduce the spread of a wide variety of infectious diseases (e.g., seasonal influenza). Effective strategies build on everyday school policies and practices.

Ensure the plan emphasizes common-sense preventive actions for students and staff. For example, emphasize actions such as staying home when sick; appropriately covering coughs and sneezes; cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and washing hands often.

 

Ensure handwashing strategies include washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

 

Reference key resources while reviewing, updating, and implementing the EOP:

 

 

  • The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center’s website contains free resources, training, and TA to schools and their community partners, including many tools and resources on emergency planning and response to infectious disease outbreaks.

Develop information-sharing systems with partners.

  • Information-sharing systems can be used for day-to-day reporting (on information such as changes in absenteeism) and disease surveillance efforts to detect and respond to an outbreak.

  • Local health officials should be a key partner in information sharing.

 

Monitor and plan for absenteeism.

  • Review the usual absenteeism patterns at your school among both students and staff.

  • Alert local health officials about large increases in student and staff absenteeism, particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses (like the common cold or the “flu,” which have symptoms similar to symptoms of COVID-19).

  • Review attendance and sick leave policies. Encourage students and staff to stay home when sick. Use flexibility, when possible, to allow staff to stay home to care for sick family members.

  • Discourage the use of perfect attendance awards and incentives.

  • Identify critical job functions and positions, and plan for alternative coverage by cross-training staff.

  • Determine what level of absenteeism will disrupt the continuity of teaching and learning.

 

Establish procedures for students and staff who are sick at school.

  • Establish procedures to ensure students and staff who become sick at school or arrive at school sick are sent home as soon as possible.

  • Keep sick students and staff separate from well students and staff until they can leave.

  • Remember that schools are not expected to screen students or staff to identify cases of COVID-19. The majority of respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19. If a community (or more specifically, a school) has cases of COVID-19, local health officials will help identify those individuals and will follow up on the next steps.

  • Share resources with the school community to help families understand when to keep children home. This guidance, not specific to COVID-19, from the American Academy of Pediatrics can be helpful for families

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Perform routine environmental cleaning.

  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, countertops) with the cleaners typically used. Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label.

  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, remote controls) can be wiped down by students and staff before each use.

Create communications plans for use with the school community.

  • Include strategies for sharing information with staff, students, and their families.

  • Include information about steps being taken by the school or childcare facility to prepare, and how additional information will be shared.

 

Review CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers.

  • Review this CDC guidance to identify any additional strategies the school can use, given its role as an employer.

Childcare and K-12 administrators can also support their school community by sharing resources with students (if resources are age-appropriate), their families, and staff. Coordinate with local health officials to determine what type of information might be best to share with the school community. Consider sharing the following fact sheets and information sources:

A list of countries where community spread of COVID-19 is occurring can be found on the CDC webpage: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel

For questions about students who plan to travel, or have recently traveled, to areas with community spread of COVID-19, refer to CDC’s FAQ for travelers. Schools can also consult with state and local health officials. Schools may need to postpone or cancel trips that could expose students and staff to potential community spread of COVID-19. Students returning from travel to areas with community spread of COVID-19 must follow the guidance they have received from health officials. COVID-19 information for travel is updated regularly on the CDC website.

 

Additional Procedures for WNESU 

The WNESU recognizes that a pandemic/epidemic is a serious threat that stands to affect students, staff, and the community as a whole. At all times the health, safety, and welfare of the students shall be the first priority. The Windham Northeast Supervisory Union shall follow the advice and recommendations in the State of Vermont’s Influenza Pandemic Public Health Preparedness & Response Plan, as prepared by the Dept. of Health & Human Services. 

Planning and Coordination 

Planning for a pandemic requires a multi-faceted effort, and school preparedness should include input from a team of individuals to address their specific areas of expertise. 

The Superintendent shall designate one or more employees to serve as a liaison between the school district and local and state health officials. This designee is responsible for communicating with health officials to identify local hazards, determine what crisis plans exist in the school district and community, and to establish procedures to account for student well being and safety during such a crisis. The designee shall work with local health officials to coordinate their pandemic/epidemic plans with that of the school district. The Board encourages the designee to become a member of the Health Alert Network through the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services. 

The principal and/or school nurse or other designees shall develop a curriculum component to health classes that are designed to teach students about preventing or limiting the spread of communicable diseases. 

With fiscal concerns in mind, the district may purchase and store supplies necessary for an epidemic/pandemic response, including but not limited to disinfectant products, face masks, water, examination gloves, and other supplies as recommended by the school nurse. 

The Superintendent shall develop procedures and plans for the transportation of students in the event students are released from school early. 

 

Response 

In the event anyone within the school is discovered or suspected to have a communicable disease that may result in transmission to other students, faculty, or staff, that person shall be immediately isolated pending a further medical examination. The Vermont Communicable Disease Control Section of the Department of Health and Human Services shall be notified immediately. 

Infection Control 

Any student or staff member found to be infected with a communicable disease that may bear the risk of transmission will be excluded from school until that individual's primary care physician or other medical personnel indicating that the individual does not bear the risk of transmitting the communicable disease provide medical clearance.

Students with excessive absences due to a communicable disease may be given a reprieve from other Board policies relative to excessive student absences. Efforts will be made by the staff to determine what if any, schoolwork the student can complete while absent. 

Staff members who are forced to miss excessive days of work shall first use any leave entitled to them through the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or accrued sick leave. If a staff member has still not received medical clearance to resume his/her work duties, absences in excess of a staff member's allotted leave will not affect the employee’s right to continued employment. 

Continuance of Education 

The Superintendent will develop a plan of alternate means of educating students in the event of prolonged school closings and/or extended absences. Such a plan may include providing students with assignments via mail, local access cable television, or the school district's website. 

The Superintendent is authorized to amend the traditional class schedule and schedule of days. Such a plan may include extending the school day, having school days held on Saturdays, the use of previously scheduled vacation days, and/or extending the school year beyond the previously established end of the school year. 

 

References: 

This site has been created by the State of Vermont Please use it as an additional resource and Guidance.

https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

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