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February 28 Message to Families about the Coronavirus
Posted 2/27/20

Dear Families,

We are writing today to update you on AUSD’s response to and plans regarding the coronavirus. We know that many of you have heard that the CDC has predicted we will have more cases in this country, and we are aware that this is causing some anxiety here in our own community.

We’d like to reassure you of three important points:

  1. Student health and safety are of paramount importance to us here at AUSD.
  2. Health officials still believe the risk of contracting coronavirus in Alameda County is low.
  3. We are preparing for higher transmission rates if they occur.

1. Student Health and Safety is a Priority

Student Services, district nursing personnel, and our communications staff are in consistent communication with the Alameda County Public Health Department and the Alameda County Office of Education about the coronavirus. These county health officials have expertise in this field and are keeping us up to date on the situation here in California and best practices in response to it.

According to national, state, and local health officials, the best way to contain the spread of the coronavirus is to follow basic preventative measures for all respiratory ailments, including:

  • Washing hands frequently
  • Covering the nose and mouth with an arm or tissue when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoiding contact with sick people
  • Staying home when sick
  • Cleaning surfaces frequently

In addition, we have asked school principals and health clerks to send home students who exhibit signs of fever, coughing, or labored breathing.  We have also asked that they strongly urge families in those situations to confer with health care providers for precautionary reasons. We also ask that in those cases, school site staff contact both the Alameda County Department of Public Health and district office so that all can stay apprised of the situation.

2. The Risk of Getting Coronavirus Remains Low

National, state, and local officials still maintain the assessment that the risk of transmission in this county (and country) remains low. We continue to comply, however, with the CDC recommendation that individuals returning from mainland China self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Although South Korea is now considered a Level III (high risk) country, the CDC is not yet asking travelers from that country (or any others) to self quarantine.

3. We are Preparing for Higher Transmission Rates

On February 25, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the coronavirus is likely to become a pandemic and multiple agencies – including schools – should be prepared to respond. (Please note that “pandemic” only means that the disease is widespread.) In response to that, ACOE superintendents will be participating in a conference call with public health officials this week. That call will explore best practices and responses to a pandemic if it occurs.  We are expecting that recommended protocols will be based on existing pandemic response protocols.

AUSD staff are also in touch with City staff to discuss possible responses in the event of a major local outbreak of the disease.

Again, we would like to emphasize that AUSD is deeply committed to the health and safety of its families and staff, we are monitoring and responding to health officials’ recommendations,  and we will continue to keep our community apprised of the situation. Please note that you can find more information, as well as links to up-to-date resources in multiple languages, on our corona virus web page.

Sincerely,

Pasquale Scuderi

Superintendent