Coronavirus Update – March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
Dear Brooklyn Center Community Schools Community:
I wanted to follow-up with you about the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As you are aware, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, and health officials are learning more about it every day. Symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. More common infections, like the cold and flu, also have similar symptoms.
Though we do not have any cases of COVID-19 in our school community, our district continues to plan and prepare in the event that a confirmed case is identified. We are in close communication with the Minnesota Department of Health and will follow all guidelines of local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are prepared to take action.
If a case is suspected in our community, public health officials will identify the student or staff member and will then provide direction on how the school district should proceed. District and site leaders are working in collaboration to design a response plan to proactively keep our students and learning environments safe and clean. We are prepared to reduce the spread of illness and protect the safety of students, staff and visitors in our buildings.
As of right now, any school closure will be made with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health. We have made the decision at this time to suspend field trips indefinitely as a means to limit possible exposure for our students and staff. We are currently weighing the impact of holding scheduled after-school and evening activities and events.
Prevention and protecting our environment
Right now, our school district is focused on prevention by:
- Sanitizing drinking fountains, bathrooms and health/nurse offices
- Disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched surfaces including countertops, computer workstations, doorknobs and communal spaces
- Cleaning products are rated for cold and flu
- Encouraging any students or staff who are feeling sick to stay home
- Monitoring the number of absences for students and staff
At this time of year, there are other more common infectious diseases that are often reported to health officials, including the cold and flu. To help prevent the spread of any illness, please follow these standard rules:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- 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 with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
In the event of a school closure
In the event of a closure, we need to be able to continue the routine and practice of learning in some semblance for our students. We will be working with teachers to help design lessons and units should we need to close for a period of time. I understand that this will be challenging with our current technology reality, however, we do have tools that we can utilize to help mitigate the disruption to learning.
We know there is a lot of anxiety about COVID-19 with our children -- and adults -- and how it will impact not only learning but day-to-day life. It’s important that we take things one day at a time. I am hopeful that we can continue the school year as planned but we are making plans for how to continue learning in the event of a closure. If you need help talking about COVID-19 with your family, please use the following resources:
- Call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414
- View the CDC fact sheet on COVID-19
- Information from the CDC
- Information from the Minnesota Department of Health
If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Erickson, lead nurse, at 763-561-2120 Ext. 3203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be sharing an update with our community every Thursday. Thank you for helping us maintain safe and healthy learning environments.
Dr. Carly Baker, superintendent
Brooklyn Center Community Schools