Billings Public Schools - Superintendent Newsletter
3/5/2020 Superintendent Newsletter- Coronavirus Update
Below is Superintendent Upham's latest newsletter regarding Coronavirus and public health information.
Parents and Guardians,
In response to the issues surrounding the coronavirus I want to update you on the status of our planning and preparation as we navigate the issues surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak.
We are working directly with RiverStone Health to assist with guidance in dealing with all aspects attached to the Coronavirus. We will be communicating through our schools on our website and on Facebook. The main point of emphasis as of now, by our medical professionals is to maintain clean areas and communicate proper hygiene practices. All schools have received a district communique listing resources for teaching and practicing good hygiene along with increased cleaning support for high contact areas.
I have also authorized the purchasing of ionized mist cleaners, https://evaclean.com/ for all schools. This new technology emits a disinfectant spray that wraps droplets of solution around all highly frequented areas, bathrooms, door handles, desks, etc. We have used this device on a smaller scale when we have had an outbreak of other contaminants. We also have additional spray cleaners that are effective in mitigating all viruses including the Coronavirus.
We will continue to be vigilant in our communication with local health providers to ensure we are receiving up-to-date and accurate information.
Please see the following information that has been shared with all schools.
- Print and post hygiene posters/visual aids throughout your building. The below CDC link has age-appropriate resources for you to use.
- Send information home to families in your newsletter or other forms of communication. The below CDC link has family-friendly information and a PDF that can be printed for you to use.
- Work with your staff on how to educate students on the importance of good hygiene and illness prevention tactics. Please devise a plan for your teachers to utilize the following approved video links with their students. Due to the large amount of misinformation available online, please avoid utilizing videos or other information that is not from the CDC, World Health Organization, or first approved by your School Nurse particularly regarding coronavirus 2019.
Educational Videos approved by BPS School Nurses for Handwashing Technique and Prevention of Illnesses including COVID-19
Optional Video for Older Elementary through High School:
Mythbusters “Hidden Nasties” is a great video discussing the presence of microorganisms on commonly touched surfaces. You may choose to utilize this video to lead into a discussion on the importance of handwashing to prevent illness. The section regarding microorganisms begins at minute 20:46 and goes through 28:25 then skip ahead to 47:42 for final results of the testing: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2n9dyt
- Encourage all students and staff to appropriately wash their hands with soap and water prior to eating any meal or snack.
- Until otherwise directed, please continue to refer to the District Guidelines for Sick Children regarding which students should not be in attendance at school for illness related symptoms: https://billingsschoolsorg.finalsite.com/school-nurse-health services/guidelines-for-sick-children
- Help staff and parents remain calm, direct them to the CDC website (the link is below), and direct them to my office if they have questions you are unable to answer.
For more information about the coronavirus, please see the following links: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and for specific school guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-for-schools.html
In addition to posting preventative information on our district website and Facebook page, my office will work with Mr. Felton from RiverStone Health to assist us with scenarios that may impact our district. We are also accessing information from the CDC to guide us with appropriate planning and implementation of procedures.
Mr. Felton has shared the following focus points:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks 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).
I will continue to communicate more information as it becomes available. Thank you for your calm diligence.
Mr. Greg Upham