March 2, 2020
Dear Sheridan Families,
As you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has communicated a warning that the coronavirus is likely to spread more widely in the United States. While there are no confirmed cases in our local area to date, we are thinking carefully about preparedness planning in the event that circumstances change and modifications to our regular activities and procedures become necessary.
Our hope and expectation is that significant changes will not be needed. However, to be prudent, we are taking several steps now, including:
- Identifying and communicating practices that will help limit the spread of coronavirus within our community
- Establishing response protocols should a community member be affected
- Exploring ways to allow for continuity in student learning in the event that we need to temporarily close. If you do not have access to the Internet at home, please contact Jessica Donovan as soon as possible so we may take community access into consideration during our planning. Though this remains an unlikely event, we want to be prepared.
To keep our community as healthy as possible, we have asked our cleaning services company to increase the frequency and scope of sanitizing within the building and are working closely with faculty, staff and our students to engage in healthy practices at school, including frequent handwashing, even more access to hand sanitizer, waves instead of handshakes, elbow covering for sneezes and coughs, and discouraging sharing of water bottles and food.
We ask that you help us at home to prevent the spread of not just coronavirus, but all viruses, by following these guidelines:
- Engage in frequent handwashing (you and your children). At school, teachers have been reminding students to wash their hands with soap and water for 30 seconds, especially before and after meals, and to cough into their elbows. Please encourage this at home as well. The average droplet of saliva expelled from a single cough can travel 6 to 8 feet!
- Test for flu. Flu and colds are both contagious, and it is important to catch them as early as possible to reduce their spread. Because they do not present the same in every child, if your student is feeling under the weather, it would be a good idea to have a flu test done because of the possible exposure.
- Report illnesses to the school nurse. This will help us track and respond to illness clusters. Reports can be made to email@example.com or by calling Annie Wilcoxen at 202-362-7900.
- Keep your child home until they are asymptomatic. Please keep your student at home if they are sick. Students with fevers are to stay at home for 24 hours after their fever breaks to prevent spreading. Students with vomiting or diarrhea must stay at home for 24 hours to prevent spreading. Students must stay home for 24 hours after taking their first dose of antibiotics for infectious illnesses such as strep throat or pink eye. If your child has a cold with a persistent cough, please contact Annie Wilcoxen at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss administering cough drops or cough syrup at school.
The CDC also has shared helpful tips to reduce the risk of coronavirus.
We will continue to monitor developments and guidance from the CDC and local departments of health closely. Their guidance will inform our decisions, and we encourage you to rely on health organizations like these as your primary sources of information and advice. As we make decisions moving forward, we will communicate them to you immediately by email and/or through News & Notes.
Thank you for your support as we plan and prepare. If you have any health-related questions, please contact Annie Wilcoxen at email@example.com or 202-362-7900.