The National School Boards Association recently released a very helpful document titled "COVID-19: Preparing For Widespread Illness In Your School Community." Here are a few highlights.
Your communities are likely paying attention to media reports of the rising numbers of cases of respiratory illness and deaths caused by a new coronavirus that is now present in the U.S. This guide is intended to inform school district leaders about the federally identified risks associated with this particular virus and to provide a checklist of issues school leaders should consider as you plan for any such crisis in your community.
The new virus, which causes mild to severe respiratory illness, is called ”SARS-CoV-2,” and the disease it causes I known as “COVID-19.” It is unknown at this time how many people may become ill. The U.S. government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring the situation and considers the immediate health risk from COVID-19 in the U.S. to be low. That risk assessment could change.
First, school leaders should follow guidance from your state educational agency and public health department, along with their counterparts at the county and local levels. Many state agencies are posting frequent updates on COVID-19 risk levels, numbers of cases, and recommended precautions. They are in close contact with the CDC, which is coordinating health system responses at the national level. Communicate clearly and regularly with school staff about recommended precautions like handwashing. Ensure that school nurses are connected to the most recent information and are following required protocols. NASN offers guidance to school nurses and to principals and superintendents for implementing CDC recommendations.