Message from the Superintendent
COVID-19 Community Update: March 10, 2020
Dear OUSD Parents and Community Members:
Cold and flu season is upon us and the health of our students, staff, and community is of utmost importance. The California Department of Public Health reports that influenza (also known as the flu) activity levels have increased over the past several weeks, including here in Orange County. The 2019-2020 flu season has been complicated by recent reports of a novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, now named COVID-19.
We are mindful that this is a rapidly changing situation and are diligently monitoring the current status and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), and Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) related to COVID-19. We have also made information available to the community via a COVID-19 page on our website and will continue to add new information and resources as they become available.
While avoidance and proper hand washing are still the top recommendations being made by the CDC to prevent the spread of germs, Orange Unified continues to support preventative measures to protect staff, students, and families from the virus’ spread.
- Site cleaning standards are being reviewed and reinforced with staff.
- Hand sanitizer is expected to arrive at our school sites next week. Given the present circumstances, guidelines regarding the use of hand sanitizers containing alcohol are being loosened, and staff will be enforcing its proper use by students.
- As an extra layer of protection, the Deep Cleaning crew began enhanced sanitization of school sites on Monday and will continue to cycle through our schools using the Clorox® Total 360® System. While sanitizing is typically for food areas and kitchens, it has been expanded to include classrooms, office areas, and common areas at school sites, including where shared playground accessories, such as bouncy balls, are stored.
- Buses will also have an extra layer of sanitation take place using the Clorox® Total 360® System.
In addition, the district continues to recommend the following daily actions / habits for our students and community:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick. Anyone with a fever (>100.4 F / >38 C) should remain home from work/school and other activities until they have had no fever for 24 hours, without fever medication. Please follow your school’s procedures for reporting student absences.
- Minimize close contact such as handshaking and hugging.
- Remain diligent in your efforts to encourage good hygiene, and monitor for signs of illness, particularly with regard to early childhood education and medically fragile students.
Staff is encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines for travel, including the avoidance of all nonessential travel to China (Level 3 Travel Health Notice), Iran (Level 3 Travel Health Notice), South Korea (Level 3 Travel Health Notice), and Italy (Level 3 Travel Health Notice). Additionally, the CDC recommends that older adults or those who have chronic medical conditions consider postponing travel to Japan (Level 2 Travel Health Notice).
We also encourage families who have recently traveled to effected areas and/or have contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-report and self-quarantine to allow time for medical evaluations and safeguard everyone’s health.
The district is aware that this is a swiftly evolving situation, and the 24-hour news and social media cycles have contributed to our collective concerns and stress. Please trust that we will make all attempts to keep you informed and updated as the situation develops and decisions are made.
Conferences & Events
We are collaborating with partners hosting events and conferences involving district personnel to determine the courses of action which are in the best interests of our staff and stakeholders. Should any event(s) change in status, we will let you know as soon as possible. We are currently adhering to CDPH guidelines for Scenario I as there is no evidence of community transmission in Orange County at this time.
Should the virus make its way into one of our schools, the decision to close a campus and/or quarantine the affected persons will be led by county public health officials. While we hope for the best, we are actively preparing for various scenarios that could occur, including the possible need to provide families with resources such as loaner devices, Wi-Fi Hotspots, and online curriculum and content.
Talk to Your Child(ren): Mystery Science Resources for Families
I want to thank all of you for your continued partnership to help ensure the health and welfare of our students and community.
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools