Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School Corporation messages parents on coronavirus

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The Duneland School Corporation is reminding folks of the importance of taking commonsense precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, now designated COVID-19.

“As always, Duneland School Corporation (DSC) nurses are using normal school-based procedures to assess symptoms,” DSC said in a statement released to parents on Tuesday. “It is important to note that patients with a confirmed COVID-19 infection have reported mild to severe respiratory symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.”

DSC is encouraging all students, parents and staff to practice good health hygiene to prevent the spread of any illness, including viruses:

--Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

--If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

--If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your sleeve/clothing only as a last resort.

--Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

--Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

--Stay home when you are sick.

--Remain at home until fever is less than 100¡ for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

--Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing.

--Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

As DSC prepares for the potential spread of COVID-19, it will be working with the following organizations: the Porter County Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Indiana Department of Education (Student Health Services & School Building Security).

“The DSC understands that schools could be a prime area of potential contamination due to the density of the population in a structurally confined area and the increased exposure that each student/staff member may encounter outside of the school building,” DSC said. “It is important to note that Indiana schools are responsible to report excessive absenteeism (512 IAC 1-2-2) to the local health department. This process allows Indiana and local officials to monitor the percentage of student absences that can possibly be related to an infectious disease outbreak.

What If?

If local health officials report confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region or in Duneland, DSC--in consultation with local health officials--will determine whether and when to close the schools.

“Closing schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of an infectious disease in a community,” DSC said. “If a school closing was warranted, the DSC would work with local health officials to determine how long schools would remain closed.”

If an ill student or staff member attended a DSC school prior to being confirmed as a COVID-19 case, local health officials may recommend temporary school closures. Recommendations on the scope of any such closures--a single school or the entire school corporation--and the duration of the closures will be made on a case-by-case basis

“DSC personnel will work with the local health officials and other relevant leadership to communicate the possible COVID-19 exposure,” DSC said. “In such a circumstance, it will be critical for DSC personnel to maintain confidentiality of the student or staff member as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.”

“DSC students and staff who are well but are taking care of or share a home with someone with a case of COVID-19 should follow instructions from local health officials to determine when to return to school,” DSC added.

In the event of a closure, DSC will utilize standard eLearning procedures. “The implementation of eLearning allows DSC teachers to deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning,” DSC said.


Posted 3/4/2020




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