- Simonton ES
Given recent news reports about cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in other countries, we wanted to provide our families with an update. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.”
Coronavirus Disease 2019— referred to as COVID-19— is a respiratory illness with symptoms that include shortness of breath, fever, and cough. The recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging communities to prepare for the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. has raised new questions.
Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been in close contact with our local and state health partners as they monitor COVID-19. To date, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports that there are no confirmed cases in Georgia and the risk of COVID-19 for Georgians is low at this time. While this information is reassuring, we understand that there are concerns about this new virus.
The school district has a pandemic plan, which is being reviewed to support the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. In the event of an outbreak in our community, we would follow our public health partners’ lead on any quarantines, closures, or other health measures as necessary. Our focus continues to be ensuring the safety of all students and staff, and continuing education with minimal disruption.
At this point, the most important ways that we can prepare are the same prevention strategies that health professionals recommend during cold and flu season— stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and practice good handwashing hygiene. Below are everyday actions you and your family can take to stay healthy:
— Sneeze and cough into your elbow or cover with a tissue. In other words, keep germs off your hands. Put used tissues in a wastebasket and then wash your hands.
— Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
— Don’t share personal items, including toothbrushes, towels, cups/glasses, utensils, etc.
— Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe following the instructions on the label.
— Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
— If you or your other family members get sick, stay home from work and school. Be sure to limit contact with others to avoid the spread of illness. If you or your child is ill and recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19, or your family has been around someone who has been infected with COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately.