COVID-19 UPDATE- March 11, 2020
The purpose of this announcement is to provide information surrounding COVID-19 and the implications for our schools. In addition to reiterate our current procedures as they relate to COVID-19.
Below is how we are handling issues as this situation develops:
- Where explicit and clearly defined recommendations from public health officials (DPH, CDC, Board of Health) or the Governor's office are available, we will adhere to them.
- Where recommendations exist but they are not clearly defined, we will seek clarity and request explicit criteria and thresholds from public health officials.
- If we are unable to get clear and explicit guidance, the district will confer with our local board of health, public safety, and town officials to determine criteria that is informed by the scientific and public health community.
It is important to remember that things are fluid, we must prepare for the possibility of changes with little notice. We may cancel an event on the day of or even a few hours before. We would prefer not to do this, but we are committed to following a consistent, logical, and informed decision-making process to avoid implementing measures that will not help our community achieve its public health objectives and may only exacerbate panic.
The Board of Health remains the primary point of contact for any communicable disease outbreaks, and we have been in constant contact with Pembroke's Health Agent, Lisa Cullity. We will continue to take our lead from her direction and guidance. As you are aware, this is a very fluid situation and we appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate through this over the coming days and weeks. The Pembroke Emergency Management Team has protocols and plans in place for any and all potential scenarios. We will share this information as needed. Our School Nurses have shared resources with staff and students around preventative measures and proper hygiene and we will continue to reinforce these practices with students in school. As questions are asked, we will create a document of FAQs and circulate that to families as well.
The preventative/cleaning measures are the same as with the regular flu season. Our maintenance staff cleans and disinfects surface including doorknobs, railings, etc. daily. In addition, each building has additional equipment to thoroughly clean and disinfect restrooms. We have ample supplies and cleaning solutions at this time, there is a plan in place to request additional materials from the state if needed. I have spoken with First Student, our transportation provider, and they disinfect the school busses daily and wipes and sanitizers are readily available to the drivers.
The recommendation of both the Governor and the Commissioner of Education is to cancel all international or out of state travel for the foreseeable future. We are adhering to this recommendation and there will be no school-sponsored international or out of state trips occurring. The Governor will revisit these recommendations in 30 days at which point we will make any necessary adjustments.
School-based events are continuing on as planned. Understanding that this could change at any point. Tonight is all choral night, which is quite a large gathering, our Facilities Manager has been working with our custodial staff to ensure that all of the high traffic areas of tonight, gym, restrooms, etc. are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after the performance. We will continue holding events with these measures in place until any new guidance or recommendations are received from the Board of Health or the Dept. of Public Health.
I am happy to answer any questions that families may have and as I mentioned earlier we will put together a list of FAQs to circulate based on questions that are being asked. As new information becomes available we will continue to evaluate our daily operations, we will plan to update families at the beginning of next week if not sooner as things develop.