COVID-19 Communication - March 6, 2020
Dear BHUSD Community,
Thank you for your patience during this time of uncertainty. There is not currently a COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the United States. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in our District. We continue to participate in daily meetings and calls to best prepare for an outbreak and to support our community. We would like to remind you that the State of Emergency declared on March 4, 2020 by the Governor was preparation-based, not because an outbreak currently exists. An emergency proclamation is designed to focus resources and expedite government response.
Please be aware that we are taking all direction from primarily the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Decisions are also made in partnership with LACOE (Los Angeles County Office of Education).
We are prepared with plans and protocols in preparation for the possibility of school closures however this is not a current concern.
The information we provide to you about COVID-19 will change rapidly. Today, the following FAQ should help provide some clarity however be aware that we will update you with any new information as it evolves.
What is the most important thing to do?
Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and can stay home we recommend that you do. It is still cold and flu season, COVID-19 is not the only reason for us all to stay vigilant about being healthy!
How is Spring Break impacted by COVID-19?
Remember to rest and recuperate! Please take all necessary precautions to protect yourselves and our community from COVID-19 and any illness.
If you visit a country or place (keep in mind, the CDC could declare warning areas within America) that is at Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2 according to the CDC you must report this to Student Services (Phil Wenker, firstname.lastname@example.org) and your Principal. Your child will be required to stay home and away from fellow students for 14 days after your return to Los Angeles and before coming back to school. This is the standard self quarantine period recommended by the CDC. At the moment these countries include China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan. Any absence due to quarantine or illness will be excused.
Please check here for up to date travel warning information: https://www.cdc.gov/
Should we stay home if we have a fever?
This is a great idea. We recommend that all children and staff members with a fever of (>100.4 F / >38C) or higher should remain home from school and other activities until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the assistance of medication.
Hand Sanitizer vs Hand Washing, what wins?
We will not be placing hand sanitizer in each classroom at this time. It simply does not compare to hand washing. The most effective way to keep germs at bay is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap. We have increased hand sanitizer dispensers significantly at every school and the District Office but this does not replace hand washing.
Do we need masks?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend routine use of a facemask or respirator. It is important that we do not deplete stock from those who need them for other illnesses.
What if someone at BHUSD is exposed to the risk of COVID-19?
This is unfortunately inevitable. However, it is important to note that we unknowingly are exposed to threats to our health every day. We will remain vigilant about investigating all reported cases. Should a confirmed case of COVID-19 exist in BHUSD we will work in consultation with the expert government agencies listed above to take the necessary next steps. This situation will be handled on a case by case basis.
If I decide not to send my student to school or come to BHUSD will absences be excused?
We understand community concern about student health and safety. Some families have asked about keeping their own child home based on the fear of contracting COVID-19 at school. This is certainly an option any family may consider. However, per Education Code at this time, we are unable to mark an absence excused for this reason. Our normal protocol remains in place. If a student is out for an extended period of time, a doctor’s note may be required. We have asked principals to work with teachers to provide makeup work for students. Any absence due to quarantine or illness will be excused.
Will you cancel school activities and events?
No. Until there is guidance from the expert government agencies listed above or we have an outbreak that warrants this decision we will continue all school activities as scheduled.
Will you cancel school trips?
No. Until a travel advisory is issued for the specific location or advice given by the government agencies listed above or we have an outbreak that warrants this decision, we will not cancel any trips.
Will you close schools?
This is an extreme measure that would be disruptive to our students, staff and families. This decision would be made in consultation with the expert government agencies listed above.
How should I talk to children about Coronavirus?
We are working on a full set of useful tools and will send you an email with this once it is ready. For now, keeping calm and reducing fear is essential.
Where should I check for information?
Please use only official government agency outlets to obtain information, for example:
Student Services on 310 551 5100 ext. 2250.
We will continue to update you as soon as additional information becomes available.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services