District update to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus.) This will have several immediate effects on our school district.
First, it is important to note state officials have specifically recommended that schools NOT be closed. This recommendation reflects the current guidance that children are at low risk of serious illness.
Please know that we are in constant contact with local and state health officials, receiving updates and recommendations. We will update parents anytime we have important new information to provide.
In response to guidance from the Governor and health officials:
- Canceling all field trips and employee-related travel is currently being considered for Person County Schools. We are in the process of collecting proposed field trip data as it pertains to when and where their trips are planned, whether there are active cases in these areas. If we were to cancel field trips, parents will be reimbursed funds they have paid to date.
- We will continue to provide students frequent opportunities to wash their hands, including immediately before lunch.
- In an effort to be proactive regarding the safety of both employees and our customers, cafeteria staff will serve all items, students will not self-serve until further notice.
Emotional Support for Students
All the news about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can be concerning for parents and students. Here are some tips to help address your child’s social and emotional needs:
- Create time to listen to and talk with your child. Be honest with young people and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to process.
- Reassure children that adults at home and school are working to take care of their health and safety. If they have concerns, they should talk to an adult they trust.
- Remind children that most people will not get (COVID-19) coronavirus. School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
- Try to keep routines as normal as possible.
- Limit the amount of exposure to television and social media regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
- It is important that all students and staff treat everyone with respect and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
If your child seems distressed about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please reach out to your school counselor, psychologist, or social worker for support.
Additional resources to provide emotional support to children:
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Talking to Children About Coronavirus (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
Students or staff who may have been exposed
Health officials assure us that a member of the Person County Public Health Division will notify someone if they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
If you believe you or an immediate family member may have been exposed to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please call your local health department. In Person County, you can call 336-597-2204. You should also call your doctor to tell them about your situation. Please do not go out in public until you have spoken to the health department.
State and federal law prohibits the school system from sharing confidential information about students and employees. While we understand that parents may have concerns, they do not have the legal right to know information about a student or staff member’s country of origin, health status, places traveled or family members.
Precautions to prevent the spread of germs
County and State health officials have assured us that we should maintain our regular, routine cleaning procedures in our schools. Additionally, our Custodial Services have been in contact with our cleaning supplies vendor and have verified the sanitizers we use exceed the CDCs recommendations for cleaning and sanitation supplies.
The CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services emphasize the importance of good hygiene practices and maintaining normal cleaning routines to fight germs and prevent the spread of illnesses like:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Keeping your child home if they have had a fever, used fever-reducing medication, or experienced symptoms of illness within the past 24 hours
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus). People should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
Please know that if your student comes to school wearing a facemask, school staff are not responsible for ensuring the student continues to wear it or wears it properly.
Every school has a cleaning plan in place to provide regular and routine cleaning with an approved product throughout the school day, including high contact areas like doorknobs and classrooms. Additionally, our Custodial Services have been in contact with our cleaning supplies vendor and have verified the sanitizers we use exceed the CDCs recommendations for cleaning and sanitation supplies. We have custodial staff on-site cleaning throughout the day.
We are prepared to provide additional cleaning to our schools, buses, and facilities if we are notified that someone in our school system tests positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19 or if health officials recommend it.
Health Department resources
If you have further questions or concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can view the following websites:
Thank you for your continued support of Person County Schools. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Communication Officer, Tracy Scruggs at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will direct your questions accordingly.
Rodney Peterson, Ed.D.