Dear Parents and Guardians,
As many of you know, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), is a rising concern that is talked about daily in the media. Here at DePaul School we are practicing, and following, closely the recommendations of the PA Department of Health and the CDC (Centers of Disease Control). We will be implementing new handwashing guidelines for students and staff. All students will be washing their hands upon arrival to school, before lunch, and before leaving for the day with soap and water. This goes along with “normal” handwashing hygiene, such as when using the bathroom, etc… Hand washing has been proven to be the single most effective infection control measure against the spread of communicable disease. We will also start “Wash In, Wash, Out,” where students will be asked to use hand sanitizer when entering the classroom and again upon exiting. All students will be given a short demonstration on germs, how they spread, why they should not to touch their faces, and why this is an important step in keeping ourselves healthy, and the people around us. We will be more vigilant at disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. Many steps will be taken to try to promote a healthy environment for our students and staff.
We would also like to change the school health policy slightly. Normal policy is to have a child remain home for at least 24 hours after their last active symptom, but at this time, if your child is sick, please allow them adequate time to recover and rest at home before sending them back to school. Even if this means they have to remain home for a couple of days. It is better for a child to fully recover, than to come back while still sick, and then have stay home again intermittently. One of the biggest recommendations from the PA Dept of Health (PADOH) is to stay home if you are sick. Keeping a sick child home prevents the spread of illness in the school community and allows the child to rest and recover fully.
Another important topic we want families to communicate with us is if you are traveling out of the country or have returned recently from an international trip. If this is the case, your student will not be permitted back into school for at least two weeks after travel. Please see a physician if you return from travel, or have come into contact with anyone who may have traveled, and is showing any symptoms of the virus (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing).
Some important reminders to help us all stay healthy during this time are:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touch objects and surfaces.
- Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu shot.
Lastly, we’d like to share with you our Education Plan for the possibility that we would be instructed, or otherwise decide, to close the school to students. Our goal is to work with the governing agencies and the medical community to slow the spread of the virus.
- You should be planning for the possibility of your child not attending the DePaul School should the closure decision need to be made. Have a plan ready for childcare if you will need it.
- Our teachers are preparing packets to be sent home for the students’ learning at home. Additional packets will be made as needed, dependent on the timeframe of a potential closing.
- We are exploring electronic and/or on-line learning options. We are still in early stages of this effort and will keep you informed as plans materialize.
Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. We are working to keep you informed; the health and safety of our students and staff is critical to us.
Mary Jo Maynard, Principal