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March 3 Update on Coronavirus: Cleaning and Planning
Posted 3/3/20

Dear Families,

Since communicating with you last week about the coronavirus, there have been three developments in Alameda County:

  1. Two cases of coronavirus have been identified in Alameda County.
  2. Health officials in Alameda County declared a public health emergency.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control sent out preliminary guidelines for K-12 schools across the country.

Please remember that although the number of coronavirus cases appears to be rising, the risk of dying from coronavirus remains low – lower, in fact, than the flu.  Still, following local and national guidelines about handling this situation, we are implementing changes in our cleaning regimen at the schools and beginning to plan for possible school closures in the future.

 

Note:  any plans to close schools would need to be done in collaboration with county and state officials.  No such plans are being made currently. We did want to take this opportunity to let you know, however, that we are continuing to track the coronavirus situation, confer with local and state health officials, and develop plans that keep student and staff safety at the forefront.

 

Facilities

Starting tomorrow, all custodians will clean doorknobs, sinks, drinking fountains, handrails, and banisters two times a day (during the school day and after school hours). Custodians will clean these tables, desks, and counters once a day (after school hours).

Custodians are also being asked to wipe down lunchroom tables between each lunch shift.

 

AUSD’s maintenance department  has been trying to order more hand sanitizer for several weeks, but it has been out of stock. As such, we ask that you continue to remind your students to wash their hands, cough and sneeze into their elbows or tissues, and avoid touching their faces. To facilitate frequent handwashing, custodians will be checking and refilling soap dispensers and paper towels in bathrooms several times a day.

 

Teaching & Learning

National and state health officials are calling for schools to makeplans for a pandemic scenario. District staff are talking now about what kinds of independent study options could be arranged for students if schools closed. We expect to have more information about that later this week. In the meantime, we have asked principals to create plans for combining classes if a large number of your teachers are out sick, and we don’t have enough subs to cover those illnesses.

 

District staff will also work with our Special Education Department to identify students with compromised immune function who might need home instruction earlier than other students.

A few tips:

  1. Please remind your students to wash their hands, cough and sneeze into their elbow or a tissue (and then throw it away!), and avoid touching their faces. The CDC has excellent resources on how best to talk to students about the importance of handwashing.
  2. You can find tips on talking to children about the virus in both the New York Times (“How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus”) and on the Child Mind  Institute website (“Talking to Kids about Coronavirus”).
  3. Our Coronavirus web page has basic information about the virus, ways to curtail its spread, and travel precautions.
  4. If your student is sick, please keep him/her at home. Please note, however, that we are not currently excusing absences for healthy students being kept home to avoid getting sick.

We know that the rising number of cases in this country is worrisome. Please know that we take the safety of students and staff very seriously and are continually communicating with health officials, education leaders, and neighboring districts about the best practices moving forward.

 

Sincerely,

 

Pasquale Scuderi

Superintendent