Recent coverage of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China that has understandably caused concern throughout our nation. As shared by the Kenosha County Health Department in a recent news release, “While public health authorities consider this a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public is considered low at this time.”
Despite the low risk factor, staff and student safety is a top priority and we want to share steps being taken in KUSD related to coronavirus, as well as some resources you may find helpful. Our goal is to plan and prepare should this make its way to our community.
WHAT IS KUSD DOING?
We will continue to work closely with the Kenosha County Health Department as the lead agency in regards to COVID-19 to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. At this time, the Health Department is not recommending the closing of schools or canceling of events. Because of the number of families who rely on KUSD for a variety of services, the decision to close schools will be made in conjunction with the Health Department and with great care and transparency.
The district is currently in the process of increasing the number of Protexus sprayers, electrostatic sprayers that decontaminate spaces, to ensure we have enough to quickly and efficiently disinfect all surfaces in one or more affected buildings as needed. These are currently used throughout the district during health outbreaks, such as the flu or whooping cough, to quickly kill germs living on surfaces and reduce the spread of illness.
Currently, we use three products that meet the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control’s (CDC) Emerging Viral Pathogen standards to disinfect for multiple infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. Oxivir Wipes are used for a quick disinfecting process, followed by washing any furniture in the affected area. Then, surfaces are sprayed with the Protexus Sprayer, which can be used on all surfaces other than computer monitors.
Custodial staff will prioritize cleaning common and high-touch areas multiple times a day. In a normal situation, these areas would be cleaned once a day. Prioritized cleaning includes bathrooms, lunchrooms, common spaces, door handles, crash bars on doors, handrails, etc. This means that some daily maintenance or outdoor litter pick-up may be deprioritized until further notice. All efforts will be made to keep students and staff healthy and safe. Please contact your child’s school regarding specific cleaning and prevention questions.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING?
- Watch for coronavirus symptoms in yourself, peers and students to help prevent the spread of this virus if it becomes present in Kenosha. The basic symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. At this time, the Health Department is not recommending the closing of schools or canceling of events.
- Use proper handwashing techniques because washing hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Please work with students to ensure the proper technique of this important step is implemented.
- Avoiding touching of the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue that is then placed in the trash;
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces; and
- Avoiding close contact with anyone presenting cold or flu-like symptoms.
Following these tips will not only prevent the spread of coronavirus, but everyday cold and flu bugs, too. Masks are not recommended at this time.
WHAT IF I HAVE A TRAVEL PLANS?
With spring break soon upon us, we encourage you to review the highly affected areas and the CDC’s frequently asked questions regarding travel.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I BECOME INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS OR THE DISTRICT IS MANDATED TO CLOSE?
The KUSD Pandemic Team is working with legal counsel to determine what steps would need to be taken regarding exempt and nonexempt employees in regards to quarantine, isolation and/or school closure requirements. Additional information will be forthcoming.
HOW WILL STUDENT TRIPS BE HANDLED?
Decisions regarding student trips will be communicated with affected families in the weeks ahead. Decisions will be guided by the CDC Risk Assessment by Country based on the destination. If the trip is not school-sponsored, please contact the host vendor.
- Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – CDC
- Coronavirus Travel Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – CDC
- Feb. 27, 2020, News Release – Kenosha County Health Department
- Handwashing fact sheet in English or Spanish – CDC
- Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus – NPR
- What to do if you are sick with coronavirus – CDC
- Information for School Nurses – Wisconsin Department of Health Services
We appreciate your understanding and support as we continue to work with health agencies to monitor this situation.