As you have undoubtedly heard, Elk Grove schools are not open this week due to Coronavirus concerns. What the news is reporting is only partially accurate.
Elk Grove has a family with members who tested positive for the virus. Children from that family attended schools last week. Elk Grove made the decision to MOVE their Spring Break to this week. News is reporting that Elk Grove closed this week, as opposed to accurately reporting that they moved their Spring Break. This gives them the time to evaluate the extent of the threat and to conduct deep cleaning of their schools.
El Dorado County Superintendents met last week with El Dorado County Public Health. Any decision to close schools/districts in El Dorado County will be made in conjunction with our Public Health Department’s recommendation. Currently, there is no such recommendation.
As of Sunday, March 8th, there are NO confirmed cases of Coronavirus in El Dorado County. Public Health has established a “hotline” for school Superintendents and the El Dorado County Office of Education is participating in daily briefings. As mentioned previously, we are fortunate to live in a county where we have such positive relationships among agencies - we are grateful for their assistance and leadership.
As was stated in Part I, we have adjusted our custodial practices, protocols, and hours to specifically address this virus. Best practices have been adopted throughout the district. At this point, we are NOT planning to cancel student activities, including athletics. Fortunately, most spring sports are outside, as opposed to being in a closed gym - volleyball is the obvious exception. Again, any decisions to cancel activities will be made in conjunction with Public Health.
Page 3 of School Guidance Novel Coronavirus provides specific recommendations for students. Please discuss these recommendations with your child. Additional resources are provided, below:
Clearly, this situation is evolving. We are committed to staying informed, following Public Health recommendations, and to communicating with our families. As we have new information, we will communicate. Dealing with unprecedented situations appears to be the new normal and we greatly appreciate your patience.
March 3, 2020
Dear Black Oak Mine Families,
The Black Oak Mine Unified School District is committed to the health of our community. We want to make you aware of what we are doing to ensure student health. Clearly, the Corona Virus is on all our minds. We have been in the process of gathering information from various sources and have tried to consolidate that information into this email.
Recently, Sacramento school superintendents submitted questions regarding the Corona Virus to the Sacramento County Public Health Department. Sacramento County Public Health Department responded in writing. Sacramento County is in our region and it makes sense for us to utilize their work. The following are the questions from Superintendents and the responses from the Sacramento County Public Health Department. We have edited the information specific to El Dorado County and have combined with other resources.
What should schools do to limit the spread of COVID-19? What can schools do to protect the health of our students and staff?
Students and school staff should go about their daily lives and practice the same
precautions you do during cold and flu season:
Stay home if you have a fever or are feeling sick. Unless sick, students and staff should continue to attend school.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing.
Wash your hands with soap and water often. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
Get your flu shot. The flu vaccine won’t protect against COVID-19, but it is highly recommended to help keep you healthy.
What steps do you recommend schools take to handle students showing flu-like symptoms?
Students and staff should stay home if they have a fever or are feeling sick. Individuals should be alert for respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever. If they become symptomatic, individuals should not report to work or school and should contact their medical provider to report their symptoms and travel history.
What steps do you recommend schools take to handle students who have been in contact with an infected person?
If a student or staff member has contact with someone known to have COVID-19, they should stay home, contact their medical provider, and call El Dorado County Public Health at (530) 621-6100. If someone is required to quarantine or isolate, they will be notified by El Dorado County Public Health.
Should students/staff be encouraged or discouraged to wear facemasks at school?
Some students may come to school wearing face masks. The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks among healthy individuals; however, it is important that anyone wearing a mask be treated with respect and not fear. N95 respirator masks are not designed for and should not be worn by children.
Students should not be excluded for wearing a mask, but information can be provided to the parents/guardians per above.
What does Public Health recommend regarding school facility cleaning procedures?
Regular cleaning including wiping and sanitizing surfaces.
The BOMUSD has closely studied our custodial routines and have made several adjustments, including protocols, cleaning materials, and hours. It may be services are rotated throughout the District to allow for “deep” cleaning of each school site.
How do we communicate public communication so no one is blindsided? What coronavirus messaging should school districts circulate among their school communities and from what sources?
El Dorado County Public Health has posted two press releases (January 24th and February 28th) with the latest on the Corona Virus. They are committed to publishing new information as they have it.
What is the possibility that a school or schools may have to close? What is the possibility that a preschool or childcare facility may have to close?
If an outbreak occurs at a specific school, preschool or daycare site, a closure could be recommended or ordered as it has been for other disease outbreak situations.
It is also possible that the BOMUSD will close specific sites, even without an outbreak, for deep cleaning.
How much notice would a district be afforded before being required to close a school? How much notice would a preschool or childcare provider be afforded before being required to close a facility?
That would be a decision made in discussion with the affected school(s), preschool(s) or childcare facility.
As always, the BOMUSD will communicate early and often regarding even the potential of school/district closures. We appreciate that parents rely on us being open. To the extent that it does not pose a threat to student and staff health, we will remain open.
Should school districts consider canceling public events?
There are no recommendations at this time for cancellation of public events, although we are aware that some event planners are making that decision.
Districts in El Dorado County work collaboratively and we would coordinate
Does the BOMUSD have the means to offer instruction remotely?
While this is a complex issue, the BOMUSD does have robust ability to offer online instruction. Students have Chromebooks and the District has the bandwidth to support online instruction. To some extent, the BOMUSD would have to follow guidance from the California Department of Education regarding virtualized instruction. Obviously, the ability to do this is also dependent on student grade levels.
Clearly, we are all concerned about the potential impacts of this virus. We want you to know that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. This includes communicating information, as we receive it. As we have seen, this virus is a moving target and we will continue to make adjustments - we commit to communicating with you as we do.
We are fortunate to live in El Dorado County. We have uniquely close relationships with county agencies and among our Superintendents. This provides for quick and coordinated responses as the circumstances change. For example, we have a Superintendents’ Council that creates the opportunity for resource sharing and for the coordination of efforts. County agencies are at these meetings when needed.
While we are all concerned about the impacts of this virus, your schools and the District will continue to make the necessary and appropriate adjustments. Thank you, in advance, for your patience as we work through, yet another, set of unprecedented circumstances.