COVID 19-Monitoring and Response
What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused bya novel (new) coronavirus. The disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). Please remember, the risk to residents of Mississippi remains low at this time. Stopping the spread of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy. Symptoms may range from mild to severe andare similar toa cold or influenza. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Who is at risk? Of the current known cases, children appear tobethe least at risk. Those most at risk are the elderly, immune-compromised, oradults with certain pre-existing conditions. More information on COVID-19, such as prevention, treatment, and how it is spread, is available on the website maintained bythe Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Is
COVID-19 active in Mississippi? No. Currently, (March 4, 2020) there are no known cases in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee or Alabama. The CDC keeps current a map tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases inthe U.S. onits website. What is NASD doing to prepare for possible COVID-19 cases? According to guidance given by the CDC, in communities like ours, where COVID-19 is NOT active, the most important thing for school districts to do now is plan and prepare. Natchez-Adams School District (NASD) is actively involved in pandemic preparedness planning with the! Mayor Darryl Grennell’s
COVID-19 Task Force. The district will review its District-wide Emergency Response document to ensure there is a comprehensive plan for responding to pandemics. That plan will include steps to ensure continuity of operations (such as financial obligations, building maintenance, and security) in the face of excessive absences and growing community alarm. It also considers steps that would be taken to control the outbreak, in concert with governmental agencies such as the MSDH and the CDC, and provide continuity of service to students. March 4, 2020
How will NASD respond if there is a local outbreak?
- The stepped response found in the NASD Emergency Plan is meant to correspond to the seriousness of a local outbreak. Educational responses may range from:
- increased communications about keeping symptomatic students home;
- to coordinated student hand washing and increased cleaning of hard surfaces such as doorknobs and desks;
- to cancellation of extra-curricular events;
- up to and including school closure.
- •Distance learning and Google Classroom would figure prominently into plans for secondary students and older elementary students, while those in primary grades (PK-2) might be provided printable exercises to hone their numeracy and literacy skills. Knowing that students in primary grades may not have access to technology and many older students do not live in homes with internet connectivity, these plans would require individualized solutions for some students.Our ability to provide those individualized solutions would depend, in part, on the restrictions put in place by MSDH and MDE.The full impact of such as cenario cannot fully be known ahead of time.
Should a case of corona virus be confirmed among our students or staff, NASD will immediately notify all parents and provide recommendations and next steps. In any situation, such as a community wide quarantine that required the closure of all schools for more than just a few days, NASD would make every effort to continue providing educational programming in an age-appropriate manner. Doing so is important tomaintain learning and to provide students witha sense of normalcy and a positive focus during a stressful situation.
What is NASD doing now in response to the spread of coronavirus?
In addition to monitoring both the spread of COVID-19 and any recommendations by the CDC, here are the steps NASD is taking to prepare for this possible emergency. Please remember, the risk to residents of Mississippi remains low at this time.
Reviewing our Emergency Operating Plans
Monitoring field trip destinations to ensure students are not traveling to or through cities experiencing an outbreak (as defined by the CDC)
- Reminding students and staff about respiratory etiquetteand handwashing
- Reminding parents to keep students at home who havesymptoms of a respiratory illness
- Developing information-sharing systems specific to this potentialoutbreak with other organizations and governmental agencies
- Monitoring absenteeism and notifying local health officialsabout large increases in student or staff absences
- Strengthening procedures to isolate and send home studentsand staff who are sick at school as soon as symptoms present
- Enhancing existing environmental cleaning
- Transitioning hand soap in all schools to antibacterial products
- Creating communications plans specific to the potential outbreakfor use with the school community (like this one)