Coronavirus Update for GNC

Coronavirus Update for GNC
Posted on 03/05/2020
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March 10, 2020

Dear GNC Staff, Parents and Students,

Rest assured, I have been in constant communication with state and county health officials, state education department officials, the Governor’s office, and a large group of superintendents about how to keep our students and staff safe from Coronavirus.

The good news is that, to date, none our four GNC schools has a reported Coronavirus ‘case’ or ‘contact’.

Below is the most current information and guidance on the Coronavirus issued by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

Question:  What is a ‘case’ versus a ‘contact with regards to the Coronavirus?

Answer:  A ‘case’ of coronavirus is a situation in which an individual has been tested by medical staff and results confirm a case of COVID-19. These results are shared by medical personnel with the infected individual and the County Department of Health. 

A ‘contact’ is a situation in which an individual had exposure to a confirmed case. That exposure includes direct exposure to coughing or sneezing by a case.  Exposure outside those parameters is typically considered ‘low-risk’, as most indirect contacts remain asymptomatic.

Question: What are the differences in treatment protocols for ‘cases’ versus ‘contacts’?

Answer: Isolation is the treatment protocol for a ‘case’. It is directed by the Department of Health and requires the individual to be in a closed-door environment with access to an isolated bathroom and food.  Isolation can take place in a home, a special location or a hospital depending on the individual’s health.

A person who has had ‘contact’ with a case can be quarantined by the Department of Health.  While quarantined, the individual is checked for signs and symptoms.  If the individual remains asymptomatic, those who have had contact with that asymptomatic individual, such family members, neighbors, friends, are not subject to quarantine.  Contacts of contacts are considered low risk.

Question: What is the latest information for school districts from NYS regarding a confirmed COVID 19 case in a student or staff member?

Answer: When a student or staff member attended school prior to being confirmed as a COVID-19 ‘case’, New York State Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour school closure, in order to begin an investigation to determine the contacts that the individual may have had within the school environment. That investigation will inform the plan determined by the local department of health as to any further required closure, or other necessary precautions to take for specific classrooms, or for specific individuals.  Such plan must recommend actions for future positive COVID-19 cases as well.

Question: What happens during that initial 24-hour period ?

Answer: During that initial 24-hour closure the school shall immediately take steps to disinfect the school building(s) where the student or staff had contact prior to testing positive for COVID-19. That disinfection must be in accordance with NYS DOH guidelines and must be complete before accepting returning students.

Question: How is the virus spread?

Answer:  The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Question: What are the CDC recommendations for using a facemask?

Answer:  CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health care workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or a health care facility). 

Question: What are the cleaning approaches we are taking as a precautionary measure?

Answer: We’ve ‘deep cleaned’ and disinfected all of our school buildings. Our deep cleaning process involves the use of hospital-grade wipes and disinfectant sprays. Our schools are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily. High-use surfaces, such as door nobs and bannisters, are being disinfected daily.

Question: What should I do if I think my child may be sick?

Answer: If your child is experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, chills, fever etc, keep the child home and contact your primary care physician.   

Question: What is the official guidance regarding travel?

Answer:  There are CDC travel advisories related to Coronavirus to countries listed at levels 3 and 2 including: China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan. Advice is to avoid all non-essential travel to these destinations.

Question: What are the smart hygiene practices ?

Answer:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

 Question: Where can I find additional information?

Answer:  
CDC - Coronavirus Information

New York Health Site - Coronavirus

NY Health Site - Contact Information

Westchestergov.Com PDF

NYSED Parent Letter - Coronoavirus

WHO Public Message

NYS Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065

Please know that I care deeply about the health and safety of our students and staff. I will continue to monitor the situation daily and will continue to follow the guidance I receive from state and local officials. I will keep you informed of any updates/changes. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any further questions or concerns.

To be placed on the school updates e-mailing list, which will include school informational updates and coronavirus updates, please send an e-mail with your child's name to ask@gncufsd.org.

Warm regards,

Carolyn McGuffog, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Greenburgh North Castle UFSD

71 Broadway

Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522

cmcguffog@gncufsd.org

914-231-8627