School District Letter to Families: Here’s What We’re Doing to Protect Students From the COVID-19 Virus

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Darien Public Schools district officials are reviewing ways to provide remote teaching to students if schools have to be closed because of the COVID-19 virus, and “special attention” is being paid to wiping down surfaces frequently touched by people in schools, officials said in a letter to parents on Friday.

“The district remains vigilant in monitoring the status and potential risk of COVID-19 for our students and staff,” the letter said.

The letter, from Schools Superintendent Alan Addley and the district’s Nursing Director Alicia Casucci, said that the district “continues to follow standard cleaning practices in all schools,” but it also said custodians are paying “special attention” to wiping down frequently touched surfaces.

“The district continues to follow standard cleaning practices in all schools,” the letter said. “Our custodial staff is paying special attention to wiping down “touchpoint surfaces” such as door handles, railings, desks and keyboards. Should recommendations for additional cleaning procedures evolve, we will adjust our practices accordingly.”

The letter also said the school district is “currently reviewing various options and logistics associated in providing remote learning in the event COVID-19 disrupts the school calendar.”

(Remote learning , according to the TrainingIndustry.com website, generally refers to “when the learner and instructor, or source of information, are separated by time and distance and therefore cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. Information is typically transmitted via technology (email, discussion boards, video conference, audio bridge) so that no physical presence in the classroom is required; otherwise, it would be Hybrid or Blended Learning. ” The website says the method can by in real time or not.)

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER

This is the full text of the letter (with subheadings we added and an explanation of how Darienite.com typically changes documents we describe as “full text” at the bottom.) The links provided in the emailed letter are at bottom. 

Feb. 28, 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

We wanted to share an update regarding Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 (formerly referred to as 2019-nCoV). Since our last communication to families and staff, concerns about COVID19 have escalated due to further disease outbreaks abroad and an increase in suspected cases domestically.

The district remains vigilant in monitoring the status and potential risk of COVID-19 for our students and staff. We continue to collaborate regularly with our Medical Advisor, Dr. Timothy Kenefick; the Director of the Darien Health Department, Mr. David Knauf; the First Selectman’s Office and other town and state officials to ensure we are following all recommendations.

As you may be aware, the latest publications from health officials include suggestions to prepare for potential school closures and planning alternate arrangements for continuing education from a distance. The district is currently reviewing various options and logistics associated in providing remote learning in the event COVID-19 disrupts the school calendar.

The district continues to follow standard cleaning practices in all schools. Our custodial staff is paying special attention to wiping down “touchpoint surfaces” such as door handles, railings, desks and keyboards. Should recommendations for additional cleaning procedures evolve, we will adjust our practices accordingly.

Concerns have been raised about students and family members who are returning from travel, especially to/from areas affected by COVID-19. The district will address such concerns on a case-by-case basis in close consultation with our local and state health officials.

If you or members of your family are traveling, we strongly suggest you review and follow the travel advisories set forth by the U.S. Department of State and the CDC (links below).

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS

The district continues its efforts to prevent the spread of infectious disease at school, whether it be influenza or COVID-19, by encouraging our students and staff to:

—Cover coughs/sneezes with sleeve/elbow, not hands;

—Wash hands thoroughly and often, especially after coughing or sneezing; and using the restroom, preferably with soap and water;

—Remain home from school, work and public spaces when ill; and

—Keep all surfaces clean throughout the day.

IF YOUR CHILD BECOMES SICK

Finally, we request your continued cooperation in promptly retrieving your children from school if they become ill during the day. As possible, students exhibiting symptoms of illness will be isolated, under supervision of the school nurse, until they can be picked up.

Additionally, children with symptoms of illness (fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent coughing/runny nose, congestion, breathing issues), or a diagnosed illness (influenza, strep throat, pneumonia, etc.), should remain home until well. We understand children may require an extra day or two of rest to ensure they are healthy enough to return to the learning environment. Please communicate with your school nurse for any absence longer than three (3) days.

Below you will find several links to additional resources to remain informed about COVID-19. Please feel free to reach out to Alicia Casucci, the director of nursing services, at acasucci@darienps.org or 203.655.3981 x 2304 with any questions or concerns you may have.

As always, the health and safety of our students and staff remain our highest priority.

Sincerely,

Dr. Alan Addley,
Superintendent
Darien Public Schools

Alicia Casucci, APRN, CPNP-PC, NCSN
Director of Nursing Services
Darien Public Schools Darien Public Schools

LINKS

[Editor’s note: Darienite.com couldn’t follow all the links as provided, so we found what we believe are the correct links, often with slightly different Web addresses and link to them here.]

— CT Department of Public Health: “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”

 — Centers for Disease Control: “Coronovirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”

— National Institutes of Health: “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” information

— World Health Organization: “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Reports”

— U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs: “Travel Advisories”

Editor’s note: When Darienite.com publishes a document identified as having the “full text,” all words are the same as in the original document, as we received it, but capitalization, paragraph breaks and changes to Associated Press style are made. If any small parts of the document are omitted as an exception to what otherwise is the full text, that will be noted in the description just before the text and “[…]” will be seen in the published text. If an entire paragraph has been removed, “[…]” will be on a separate line from the rest of the text. Darienite.com also frequently adds subheadings not in the original, particularly for longer documents. We may also add pictures, illustrations and information in paragraphs marked as being from Darienite.com.

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