Updated Monday, March 9
Thank you for your calmness this past week and ongoing diligence in keeping your children and yourself healthy and safe.
We’d like to give you an update about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and our local efforts to protect students, staff and community. The spouse of a North Whidbey Middle School staff member who was in quarantine remains symptom-free, was tested for COVID-19 and the test came back negative. As a result, public health has cleared the staff member to return to work.
As of today, public health officials report that there are still no cases of COVID-19 in Island County. Consequently, they are not recommending that we cancel community events or close schools as you may have seen in other areas. They promise to notify us immediately should those conditions change and we will get the word out to you right away.
We remain in regular contact with Island County Public Health and are monitoring all guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Washington State Department of Health and other governmental health agencies. We are also getting information from our Educational Service District (ESD) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) about school closures and lessons learned from other districts in more impacted regions. We are using their guidance to address specific questions and concerns on a case-by-case basis.
Public health officials continue to strongly recommend the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds), especially after eating and after coming into contact with others. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoid contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home while you are sick;
- Avoid close contact with others, this includes holding hands, high-fives, handshakes, hugging, sharing eating utensils, etc.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Please continue to reinforce these practices with your children. At school, we are recommending elbow taps or foot taps as alternatives to high-fives or handshakes.
Public health officials remind us that it is important to remain calm and focus on these best practices proven to significantly reduce the spread of any disease. We urge you to review the documents they have provided us if you have additional questions about the coronavirus:
- Island County Public Health
- School Nurse Corps
- Washington State Department of Health - School Resources
- Washington State Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WA State Department of Health novel coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127