The William Foyd School District announced Monday that it would cancel evening (post-6 p.m.) activities to increase custodial staff measures to clean school facilities in response to the COVID-19 spread. Below is a letter with more detail from the superintendent of schools, Kevin Coster.
By now you have undoubtedly seen the multitude of news reports about COVID-19, the novel (new) strain of the coronavirus, a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. This message is to provide the school community with an update about what the district has been doing to try to prevent the spread of viruses within our schools.
I will start off by letting you know that the William Floyd School District DOES NOT have any cases of COVID-19. If anything changes in that regard, we will notify the entire school community immediately.
Plans for This Week
Out of an abundance of caution, all activities are being canceled for this week in all schools for events that take place after 6 pm – that includes school-sponsored events such as parent-teacher conferences, the Night of 1,000 strings concert, clubs, sports, parent-involvement events, etc., in addition to any programming sponsored by outside community organizations that use our facilities. Additionally, we are currently working with SCMEA to come up with alternative plans for this weekend’s conference. The regular business portion of the Board of Education meeting will still take place as scheduled on Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 pm in the high school library.
Clearing the buildings by 6 pm will provide our custodial staff with additional time to sanitize and deep clean our schools to prepare for the next day. We are also bringing in additional custodial staff to assist with this effort.
I have assembled a district response team to monitor and assess the situation as it pertains to our schools, students and staff. We are closely monitoring the situation and creating contingency plans for all different possibilities. We will continue to maintain close contact with and follow the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the New York State Department of Health, the Suffolk County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.
If the district becomes aware that a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it will notify the entire school community immediately and take appropriate measures if necessary, such as school closings. Please note the district has five unused snow/emergency days that will help alleviate any impact in this worst-case scenario. If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, we will follow our current practices for handling respiratory illnesses, subject to any additional guidance received by the above referenced departments.
Please know, that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this and other illnesses. Below are some of the cleaning procedures we have in place and tips for prevention of the transmission of germs to others and ourselves.
Cleaning Procedures & Additional Information
In addition to the thorough cleaning that our custodial staff performs on a regular basis, we have increased the frequency with which they are sanitizing high-traffic spots such as door handles, stairwell railings, bathrooms, chairs, desktops, lunch tables, etc., throughout the school day. Our custodians are using a New York State-approved hospital-grade product, 3M Quat Disinfectant, which is effective against a broad spectrum of viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. The Center for Biocide Chemistries lists this product as effective at fighting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). (Click here for link and check page 4 of document).
Additionally, principals will make periodic announcements in each school about the importance of handwashing in minimizing the spread of respiratory viruses. A short video will be shown to elementary students about the importance of handwashing in staying healthy. We are also working with our transportation providers to ensure they are regularly sanitizing school bus seats and other frequently-touched surfaces on a regular basis.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – (hum the tune of “Happy Birthday” two times). Make sure fingertips are also thoroughly cleaned. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer until hands can be washed properly. Heavily soiled hands should be washed as soon as possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick and wait at least 24 hours before returning to school/work after a fever.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Wash hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory illness and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.
Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.
New York State has established a novel coronavirus hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. The district will share any new information in a timely manner.
This is also a great time to ensure that your child’s school has the most up-to-date contact information for you and to update emergency contacts. If your contact information has changed, please send in a note to your child’s classroom teacher (grades K-5) or to your school’s main office (grades 6-12).