Mansfield Public Schools
March 9, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Dear School Community,
People often ask me how I make decisions about snow days or other emergency closures. No superintendent of schools enjoys making those calls, but I am very fortunate to be surrounded by teams that advise and guide me in making my decisions. For the current situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) I have been working with Fire Chief Desrosiers, Town Health Agent Amy Donovan-Palmer, and Director of Health Services Christine Dooling. This morning Town Manager Kevin Dumas called together this group along with Police Chief Sellon, Assistant Town Manager Barry LaCasse and Human Resources Director Jocelyn Lemaire. My purpose for sharing this is to let you know that we are working together to stay informed by the Department of Public Health and to plan for possibilities that could impact our schools. As of this writing, our community remains in a position where it is business as usual.
We continue to implement our plan for additional cleaning in our school facilities including buses. Over the past weekend, our Facilities Department continued to clean "high-touch" surfaces including doors, handrails, desks, and chairs. Our transportation provider, Michael J. Connolly and Sons, has confirmed they are implementing a sanitization plan which includes wiping down doors, handrails and seats. Our MPS Special Education buses are also being cleaned.
We continue to ask students and employees to stay home if sick. As many of you are aware, the flu season was a hard one prior to COVID-19; indeed, our students experienced more days of absence due to sickness in early February. Since returning from February vacation, three weeks ago, our student absences due to illness have improved. We want to reiterate: please stay home if you are sick. I have directed our principals to suspend letters to parents/ guardians regarding high absenteeism and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has directed schools to suspend perfect attendance awards.
Much of what you will find in this newsletter has been communicated previously; however, our hope is that you will find value in having so many resources in one place. As we continue to move forward through this situation, I ask the following for our students and employees:
If you have been notified by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to self-quarantine, or if you are being tested for COVID-19, please follow your doctor’s directions and notify the school’s Director of Health Services Christine.email@example.com.
CDC Travel Advisory
The CDC issued a new travel advisory on March 3, 2020 for all level III countries including China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. This advisory urges travelers to return home and self-quarantine for 14 days.
For example, if a student or employee returns from one of the above mentioned countries, the student/employee would self-quarantine for 14 days.
If a family member of a student or guardian returns from one of the above mentioned countries, please contact the DPH for individual guidance.
Please refer to https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for additional information.
DISTRICT HEALTH POLICY REMINDER
It is important to stay home when you are ill. Please keep in mind our district's health policy as stated in our handbooks and keep your student home if your student:
- Has an elevated temperature (The CDC defines a fever as 100°F (37.8°C) or higher and recommend staying home for 24 hours after a fever for full recovery)
- Has a SIGNIFICANT cold with sneezing, nasal drainage, and/or persistent cough and difficulty breathing
- Has a suspicious undiagnosed rash
- Has been vomiting within the past 24 hours (not associated with a diagnosed condition - as in regurgitation - or a medication side effect)
- Has diarrhea which cannot be managed by the student’s ability to use the bathroom independently
- Has a contagious disease (i.e. strep throat, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and conjunctivitis) and has not been on medication at least 24-48 hours from the first dose
Below you will find a variety of resources including the Wash Your Hands and Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes videos have been shown in classrooms. We welcome you you view them at home with your children and other family members.
MedlinePlus provides families with links for translated versions of important information.
Who should I call if I have questions:
If you have any questions about travel restrictions, please call the Mansfield Health Department at 508-261-7366 or visit their new website dedicated to the Coronavirus. https://www.mansfieldma.com/536/Coronavirus-Information
If you have any medical questions, please contact your physician.
PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE
Students at all grade levels are allowed to use classroom sinks and restrooms to wash their hands when necessary. In addition, if age appropriate, students are encouraged to carry and apply their own personal supply of hand sanitizer throughout the day.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if unable to wash, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeves, not your hands. Throw tissues in the trash and wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick whenever possible.