Earlier this week, Long Island saw its first school closure at Shoreham-Wading River amid the coronavirus out- break. As of Monday, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone assured that the county has been working with all local superintendents and the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association to ensure they receive the proper guidance. However, there has been no reason for changing home or school activities as of yet. Also, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that school districts must close for an initial 24-hour period if a student tests positive so that officials can do an assessment and make a determination going forward.
As of Monday, the William Floyd School District canceled all evening activities, both school-sponsored and non-district sponsored, and will reassess weekly, though no cases have been confirmed at the schools.
Superintendent Kevin Coster also released a letter addressing the issue and updating the public on the measures the district has been taking to prevent the spread of the virus.
The plan for this week, he noted, out of an abundance of caution, is to suspend all after-school activities, which will provide the custodial staff extra time to deep-clean and sanitize. Also, additional custodial staff has been hired to assist with the effort.
The district has also formed a response team to monitor and assess the situation as it pertains to the schools, students and staff.
“If the district becomes aware that a student or staff member is diag- nosed with COVID-19, it will notify the entire school community immediately and take appropriate measures if nec- essary, such as school closings,” he wrote. “Please note the district has five unused snow/emergency days that will help alleviate any impact in this worst-case scenario.”
The district also suggests that this is 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).
In addition to a letter sent out to parents, assuring that the district is monitoring the virus and promising the schools are properly disinfecting, superintendent Dr. Donna Jones took a min- ute to answer the following concerns:
The district has sent out CDC and DOH information to parents and posted links on their websites. Jones also sent out two letters to parents and one to all faculty and staff encouraging them to practice healthy measures such as washing hands. Students should be informed and practice good hygiene, she said.
No students have returned from any foreign trips and none are currently being monitored, according to Jones. Also, no foreign country trips have been scheduled and no other trips have been cancelled at this time.
According to district superintendent Dr. Joseph Giani, the school district does not have any confirmed cases; how- ever, it is aware of the community’s concerns.
“The district is closely monitoring this fluid matter,” he wrote, also stating that the district is following guidance from the CDC and departments of Health as well as the state Education Department. “If the district becomes aware that a student or staff member is diagnosed
with COVID-19, it will immediately noti- fy staff and parents/guardians.”
South Country Schools currently has no international trips planned. The district has also been taking steps to clean and disinfect the schools to minimize the spread of all viruses and illnesses.
“The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority,” he added. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness and protecting the health and safety of our school community.”
Superintendent Dr. John Stimmel sent out the following message to the school community early last week regarding the virus:
“I am writing to you in response to the concerns we are all facing about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Our district’s primary focus is the health and safety of our students, staff, and visitors,” he wrote. “While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Suffolk County as of this writing, I wish to provide you with an update explaining what the district is doing in response to the pos- sible impact of this virus to our school community.”
He assured that the district is closely monitoring the situation and following the guidance from the U.S. CDC, NYS Department of Health and the Suffolk County Department of Health, as well as the NYS Education Department.
The district, he noted, also follows cleaning procedures and uses clean- ing products to help ensure frequently touched and high-trafficked areas of the schools remain “clean and germ-free.”
Principals, nurses, faculty and staff are also encouraging students to follow the CDC’s tips for staying healthy.
Also, Sayville School District does not sponsor foreign trips, according to a district spokesperson. Any and all interna- tional trips are done by outside-interest sponsors. However, Sayville School District follows guidelines from the DOH when it pertains to travelers.
“We rely on the DOH to inform us if there is a health-related travel alert for those who may have traveled during February break,” the spokesperson said.
The district website will continue to provide detailed information and resources regarding the virus with links to the CDC and departments of health.
“The board of education, adminis- tration, and staff take this matter very seriously,” he continued. “We will close- ly monitor the ongoing events and pro- tocols related to the coronavirus and its impact on our schools.”
Superintendent Dr. Timothy Hearney also released a statement addressing the global concerns, also stating that there have been no confirmed cases within the district.
“Rest assured, the district is closely monitoring all updates provided by the CDC and the World Health Organization as well as the New York State Depart- ment of Health,” he wrote. “Please know that we take this matter very seriously and will provide our families with any updates we receive. Should an individ- ual in our schools become sick with the virus we will work to communicate that information to you as soon as possible and deploy the practices established in our emergency management plan to help safeguard our school community.”
The district, he said, also remains vigilant in our proactive efforts to clean and disinfect surfaces in our schools.
Though the district also has no confirmed cases, they stated in a recently released letter to parents that the district is closely monitoring the situation and is also taking steps to disinfect the schools.