Parent Update | 3.10.20
This afternoon, Island County Public Health informed our school district of the first confirmed case of the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) in Island County. Furthermore, the individual who contracted the virus is the parent of a student at Oak Harbor High School. The student has been absent from school since last Wednesday and currently has no symptoms. The student will remain out of school and will test for COVID-19. We understand this is a stressful situation for our families, students, and staff and urge you to read the following message for information about the next steps.
The Department of Health, Island County Public Health, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend our schools remain open and close for deep cleaning only when there is a confirmed case with a student or staff member. We do not have a staff member or student with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, we will close that school for sanitizing. We will continue to take guidance from Island County Public Health as we receive further information.
WHAT ACTIONS ARE WE TAKING?
Our district is following the recommendations of our various government health agencies and making changes as new guidance emerges. We are communicating at least daily with public health officials for updates. We are reviewing daily briefings from a variety of educational and public health agencies.
This past week, we increased our efforts to keep our students and staff safe and healthy. Here are a few examples:
- We added three full-time custodians dedicated to sanitizing.
- Today, we are finishing the upgrade of the sanitizing spray in all classrooms to a CDC recommended solution.
- Staff members are directed to regularly sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
- Buses are sanitized before and after each route.
- Staff members are sending students with flu-like symptoms to the health room. Nurses evaluate the students and any students with flu-like symptoms are sent home.
- Staff members were directed to not come to work if they are sick and are also being sent home if they show signs of the flu.
- Staff were instructed to provide extra time for students to wash their hands throughout the day, placing an emphasis during those times before breakfast and lunch and reminding, especially our younger students, the proper washing technique.
- Students and staff are urged to avoid physical contact (other than the occasional elbow bump greeting).
School attendance is important, but we understand many of our families are in unique situations and concerns. We respect the right for each family to keep their child home from school. Please communicate the absence to the attendance office and it will be excused. We will follow our regular procedures for excusing work and providing reasonable time for our students to make up any missed work. Feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher directly if you anticipate your child missing an extended period of time (five days or more).
EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Island County Public Health has not recommended we cancel events at this time. However, tonight, over 1,000 people are expected at Oak Harbor High School for a district-wide choir concert. Given the timing of today’s news, we are postponing this event and will evaluate other evening events on a case-by-case basis.
After-school clubs and athletic practices held at the school will continue for the time being. However, we strongly encourage the limiting of contact students may have with their peers. Staff advisors and coaches will determine the best way to limit the number of contact students will have with others and strictly enforce those practices.
It is important to stay informed with accurate information and to get your questions answered. If you have not had a chance, please review the following resources:
- 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
Also, Island County Public Health opened a COVID-19 call center to take your questions. The call center is available from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Island County call center can be reached at 360-678-2301.
Additionally, the Washington State Dept. of Health also opened and expanded a COVID-19 call center to answer more questions quicker. The WA State Dept. of Health call center is available from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., seven days a week at 1-800-525-0127.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times. We will continue to keep you updated as we receive more information.