Update on Covid-19 Response

Update on Covid-19 Response
Posted on 03/02/2020

Dear Parents,

The Rhode Island Department of health announced the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was identified in the state. While the Department of Health is implementing procedures and protocols to help fight the spread of the virus, there are also some common sense precautions that all members of our community can do to prevent the spread of the disease. These precautions include:

  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
  • Stay home from school or work if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

I have been asked if members of our community should wear facemasks. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. 

The Narragansett Schools are actively planning our response to the anticipated spread of the virus and we are in close contact with the Town of Narragansett, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Rhode Island Department of Education. Our early precautions and planning are similar to the planning and precautions schools would take in the face of pandemic influenza. These include:

  • A focus on keeping our community healthy through regular hand washing. Teachers will emphasize hand washing with all students and will allow additional time between classes as needed for students to regularly wash their hands. We will also have additional hand sanitizer available for students and staff.
  • Additional cleaning and disinfecting in all areas of the schools, including classrooms, cafeterias, lavatories, etc.
  • Planning for virtual learning should it be necessary for schools to be closed. This will look slightly different at different levels, and will include the use of our school-issued computers in grades 5-12 and virtual lessons through email, YouTube, and other platforms in the younger grades.
  • Planning for vulnerable student populations should school be open but the risk of attendance is too great for an individual or small group
  • Planning for the logistics of communication, supplies, etc.

While it is our hope to have our school routines will remain as normal as possible, we will fully comply with all recommendations from our public health officials. If deemed necessary by the department of health, schools could be asked to close for a length of time to prevent the spread of the virus if cases are identified in our community. If such an event occurs, we will move to virtual learning experiences and continue with our students’ educations. We recognize the challenge this would pose for many families, and stand ready to support you in whatever ways are possible. Please know that we are planning for a variety of scenarios, and doing all we can to maintain the health and safety of our community and our students.

Please feel free to contact me at pcummings@nssk12.org should you have any questions. I will continue to update you as we learn new information about the statewide and local response to the virus.

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