As most of you already know, many states and countries are dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus. The purpose of this communication is to provide you with information and updates related to how Jumoke Academy Charter School is responding to the concerns about the virus and steps we have and will be taking to ensure the safety of our entire school community. Below, you will find excerpts lifted from a recent communication received from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health to inform us about the virus and guide our preparations. It should be noted that the district will continue to share updates with you in the coming weeks as we become more informed. In the meantime, the best practices for parents, scholars, teachers and staff are to continue to wash hands properly and regularly, and to consider staying home if you are sick to contain any illness.
What are Coronaviruses? Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly circulate throughout the world, including here in Connecticut. They cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses requiring hospitalization.
How serious is this virus and what are the range of symptoms? Reported illnesses due to infection with 2019-nCoV have ranged from mild to severe. Symptoms have included fever, cough and shortness of breath. While many patients have had mild illnesses, some patients have been hospitalized and deaths have been reported in other countries.
How does this virus spread? Current information suggests that person-to-person spread is occurring, although it is not clear how easily the virus spreads between people. The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020.
What is the incubation period for this virus? The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. This estimated range is based on the incubation period of previously studied coronaviruses.
What steps can a school take to prevent respiratory viruses from infecting students and teachers? The same steps which prevent other respiratory viruses, including influenza, from spreading can also prevent 2019-nCoV from spreading. Connecticut is currently near the peak of influenza season. DPH recommends schools consider the following to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses:
Adhere to existing school health protocols for any staff/student(s) presenting as ill or any staff/student(s) who may have been exposed to a contagious disease. Follow established exclusion recommendations for acute respiratory illness (patients should be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications before returning to school.)
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Provide adequate soap, paper towels and other cleaning supplies in bathrooms and other wash areas.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and encourage families to keep ill students at home.
Remind students to cover their mouths and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Have custodial staff clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces according to product directions and their facility’s policy.
Strongly promote the annual flu shot for all students and staff.
I have recently met with our district leaders and facilities department to ensure that our team is equipped and prepared to follow the guidelines above that are consistent with best practice related to healthcare challenges of this season. In addition, our facilities department has conducted an audit of our buildings and classrooms to ensure that they are equipped to promote good hygiene practices.
As we continue to learn more information about the spread of the virus, the district we will be proactive in our planning. Future discussions and updates will include additional short and long term plans to address the impact on planned field trips and alternatives to delivering instruction should we be faced with those decisions.