Coronavirus [COVID-19]: March 4, 2020
The following letter was issued to Minuteman High School students, parents/guardians, and staff regarding precautions around the Coronavirus on Wednesday, March 4, 2020:
Dear Minuteman High School Families,
We are writing to address any concerns you may have about the Coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19, and how it could impact our school community. In recent days, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued guidelines to all schools on how to prevent and contain a potential case of the Coronavirus at schools, while also stressing that that coming into contact with the virus is unlikely to occur.
In addition, Governor Charlie Baker today held a press conference, in which he urged colleges, universities, and high schools to cancel upcoming international student trips. Minuteman is taking this information under advisement at this time before making decisions about whether such trips will take place for our students.
Below are some highlights from the most recent DPH memo to schools:
- At this time, Massachusetts has one confirmed [and one presumptive] case of COVID-19 and the risk to our residents remains low. At the same time, the risk for the influenza virus is very high. As of this writing, it is extremely unlikely that anyone who has traveled to mainland China, where COVID-19 was first reported, within the past 14 days would be at school.
- It is important to note that Massachusetts residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the flu than to be exposed to COVID-19. Many of the precautions that help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against other respiratory viruses.
- DPH recommends that schools continue education about good hygiene. Students, staff, and volunteers should be reminded to:
- 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
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not with your hands)
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick
- DPH also recommends that schools continue to follow their regular cleaning and disinfection program.
Here at Minuteman, our school nurses and staff have been briefed about these latest DPH guidelines. Our nurses are taking note of any students exhibiting upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms merely as a precaution. Our custodial staff is also trained in disinfectant procedures to contain the spread of illnesses within the building. To that end, we have begun instituting disinfectant procedures solely as a precautionary measure. We are also proactively purchasing additional, highly effective disinfectants and as a should we need to disinfect areas within our building.
For additional information, please visit the Mass. DPH website.
Edward A. Bouquillon, PhD
Superintendent-Director, Minuteman High School