Coronavirus COVID19 Update #3
Temecula Valley Unified School District 3/8/2020
Good Afternoon TVUSD Staff and Families,
I apologize for the weekend email. Recently, several California school districts and universities announced that they would be closing schools and classes next week due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. Others have suspended out-of-district athletic and student activities. Closing a school is a serious matter and one that is done in coordination with appropriate guidance from public health officials and in most cases is being done as precautionary.
One such case is occurring in our neighboring school district. As many of you are already aware, Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) has closed Murrieta Valley High School (MVHS) as a precaution, beginning Monday, March 9, 2020. The precautionary closure is due to an MVUSD employee being tested for COVID-19. The employee recently traveled to a country with a known outbreak. It’s important to note that 1) the employee’s case has not been confirmed, and 2) the employee is being tested because they traveled to a country with a known COVID-19 outbreak. There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Riverside County recorded at this time. There are also individuals within the county being tested due to flu-like symptoms.
With the closure of MVHS, any athletics or events scheduled between MVHS and TVUSD teams are canceled for Monday, March 9, 2020. TVUSD’s athletic directors and coaches have already made the necessary arrangements. We will update regarding the status of activities involving MVHS after Monday, March 9.
We know that this incident being within our neighboring city and the school district is alarming. While health care experts report that the likelihood of transmission is still very low, TVUSD continues to prepare. Again, in MVUSD’s current situation, the decision to close MVHS was made out of an abundance of caution and the risk is low. Many factors are reviewed when making these determinations and we rely on guidance and follow the lead from Riverside University Health Systems –Public Health. For now, TVUSD remains fully operational. We intend to hold normal operations/schedules on Monday, March 9 and continuing.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we take this responsibility seriously. As a school community, there are some things that we all can do. It is flu season and we are following the best disease-prevention practices in schools. You should also follow best practices at home, such as:
Frequently washing your hands with soap and water
Keeping surfaces clean
Sneezing or coughing into a tissue or your elbow
Most importantly, keeping your child home when they are sick with flu-like symptoms, including a fever of 100-degrees Fahrenheit or 38-degrees Celsius or higher, shortness of breath, and coughing
Call your school if your child is staying home sick to let them know.
If you have specific questions regarding novel coronavirus, please, visit www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus or call 2-1-1. You can also call the CDC hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
We will continue to share updates specific to TVUSD. Thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding.
Superintendent Tim Ritter
Temecula Valley Unified School District
Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 and TVUSD Schools
Q: Are additional sanitization procedures taking place at sites and in classrooms?
A: Temecula Valley USD follows all recommended cleaning procedures for educational settings. Custodial leads and maintenance staff have reviewed cleaning procedures and are adhering to all district procedures and nightly inspection schedules. Some of these procedures include actions such as restocking hand sanitizer in school offices, and universal spaces (library, etc.…) and refilling soap dispensers throughout the day.
Q: Are alcohol-based hand sanitizers allowed in TVUSD schools?
A: Yes. For more details from the California Department of Education please click here.
Q: What if my child says the school bathroom is out of soap. What should I do?
A: Contact your school office as soon as possible so custodial staff can address and refill as necessary.
Q: Does the District have an emergency response plan specifically for pandemics?
A: Yes. As part of our Safe Schools Planning efforts, there is a Pandemic Planning Guide. Staff last used these protocols during the H1N1 Flu pandemic. The administrative staff is currently reviewing those guidelines and updating sections as needed. It is important to note, specific pandemic response activities will be highly dependent on emerging data and direction provided by health authorities. As with any emergency plan, this is a living document and will be subject to updates as this pandemic develops.
Q: How are student absences being handled?
A: All absences due to illnesses are excused with parent confirmation, per California Education Code outlined in our District Board Policies and Parent/Student Handbooks. Additionally, our Student Welfare and Success Division are currently monitoring absences and analyzing for patterns. As of today, Temecula Valley USD has not experienced an increase in illness based on attendance rates.
Q. How do school sites handle requests for Independent Study (IS) related to coronavirus fears?
A: If you are requesting independent study for a medical reason, please contact your student’s school site for procedures. Please know these types of independent study requests would require a medical recommendation from a physician, and the District would follow the steps as outlined in District Board Policy. Currently, the risk for our student population to contract COVID-19 remains very low. Vulnerable populations are those with chronic underlying health conditions, recent international travel and known exposure to a person with COVID-19 virus.
Q: Who will make the decision to close schools?
A: If an outbreak occurs that affects our community, and school closures are recommended or ordered, decisions will be made, at the direction of County Public Health following discussions with the school district and Public Health professionals. We will also consider guidance from the California Department of Education. TVUSD is unable to know if or when individuals are exposed to any illness, which is why we follow guidelines from expert agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the County Public Health.
Q: If, in a worst-case scenario, a school gets shut down, what” distance learning” protocols are being considered?
A: In the event of a school closing, as a result of the novel coronavirus, the District is currently exploring distance learning options to best meet the needs of all staff, students, and families. Should this become our reality, we will be communicating clearly with all staff, students, and families regarding the process and expectations for continuous learning.
Q: Are there any plans to alter or cancel travel, field trips, school dances, etc... due to concerns?
A: As of today, there are no recommendations from public health officials to cancel public events or field trips. Lastly, we are aware that concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. Helping children cope with this concern and anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm. Therefore, we have linked here for you, “How to Talk to Children about COVID19” resource from the National Association of School Psychologist.
Q: With the upcoming spring break plans, what do families, students, and staff need to know?
A: For information on travel plans you or families might be planning for Spring Break, please consult the US State Department's website for travel guidelines. If someone travels to an area that is currently on the travel watch list, families returning are responsible for self-reporting. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province--china.html