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COVID-19: Letter to Parents (3/13/2020)

 

       2545 Greenway • Arkansas City, KS 67005 • 620-441-2000 • www.usd470.com

Ron E. Ballard, Ph. D. • Superintendent of Schools • ron.ballard@usd470.com


 

March 13, 2020


 

To: USD 470 Parents, Guardians and Patrons

 

Ark City USD 470 considers the health, safety and well-being of students and staff our top priorities. We know this flu season has been complicated by the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

 

The USD 470 Board and leadership team continue to work with and receive guidance from health and education experts on the local, state, and national level regarding COVID-19 and every effort will be made to ensure the safety of all persons in our district.

 

Arkansas City Schools will take direction and guidance from the City-Cowley County Health Department on most response measures; however, the district is already taking the following actions: 

  • Precautions are currently being taken to prevent the spread of influenza and other communicable diseases by communicating with staff and parents of students who attend our schools regarding what to do when sick.

  • We are cleaning/disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces. School staff members have access to CDC-approved disposable wipes and hand sanitizers to slow the spread of germs. District custodial staff utilize CDC-recommended disinfectants and decontamination cleaning systems that sanitize both hard and soft surfaces killing most viruses and bacteria.

  • We are reminding staff and students to practice good hygiene including: frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds, coughing/sneezing into a tissue or the elbow, avoiding touching their faces, and staying home when sick.

  • Should health department officials recommend the closing of schools and/or restrictions on large gatherings, the district will communicate with parents utilizing email, social media, and call system communications. 

  • USD 470 nurses will remain current regarding the evolving situation and will help relay information to students and parents. 

  • A crisis intervention plan exists to help school district administrators and faculty deal effectively with crises that could interfere with the normal daily operation of the school. 

  • Checklists provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will be utilized for pandemic influenza and COVID-19 information and planning. Guidance and regulations may change daily.

 

In the event of an outbreak in our community, the district would follow our public health partners’ lead on any quarantines, closures or other health measures in order to minimize the impact on student and employee health and wellness.

 

If you have additional questions about COVID-19, we encourage you to view KDHE’s one-page COVID-19 fact sheet. (http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/download/COVID-19_One_Pager.pdf) This fact sheet contains information about the virus, its symptoms and severity, and how to protect yourself. We have provided other helpful resources on our website at www.usd470.com

 

One of the most important things our community can do right now is practice preventative measures and remind everyone of precautions they can take to slow the spread of germs and prevent illness. We appreciate you encouraging these healthy habits at home as well: 

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Use soap and hot water and wash for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to lather and scrub all hand surfaces including fingertips and nails.

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or the air. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, and immediately discard the tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your elbow.

  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

  • If children are feeling sick, please keep them home from school. Children who are ill should remain home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of medication. Please note, requirements for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 may have greater restrictions. 

  • Persons who have recently traveled to COVID-19 high-impact areas or out of the country are asked to provide information to the City-Cowley County Health Department. See: http://www.cowleycounty.org/health. Please note, this is a requirement. Information, questions and inquiries should be directed to the county health department. 

 

We take the honor and responsibility of educating your students very seriously. It takes all of us working together to ensure healthy learning environments. Thank you for your support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ron Ballard

Superintendent of Schools