Dear Wornick Community,
As you are seeing in the news this week, the landscape around the coronavirus (COVID-19) is developing quickly. With this in mind, we are writing to provide you with an update on what we are doing for our community. Our administrative team continues to meet daily to evaluate the effect on our community and to plan for all scenarios. While we know that we cannot predict exactly what will happen in the coming weeks, we continue to move forward with emergency preparations should they be needed, and continue to evaluate programs and events.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that the 7th grade trip to the South set to leave on March 9, and the 6th grade trip to Washington state scheduled to leave on March 30, will not be departing as scheduled.
Many considerations were weighed in making this decision. We are constantly monitoring CDC advisories, WHO updates, San Mateo County Health Department notices, NAIS, CAIS, and other organizations. We are also in daily contact with Bay Area independent schools. After evaluating scenarios that involved increased hygienic measures and additional rest for our students, we reached the determination that the risks involved with our students traveling, albeit domestically, were too great given the news of cases reported in Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas (our students would fly through Dallas), as well as the increased uptick in reported cases in the state of Washington and other locations. Additionally, increased screenings at airports could result in situations that would fragment our group and require some students to be stranded or quarantined in another city with a chaperone. We are not alone in this decision, as many other schools are cancelling both international and domestic student trips.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate all trips on a case-by-case basis. Most of our day field trips currently scheduled in March are currently on hold. We hope to reschedule any field trips that are cancelled when it is safe and appropriate.
We will be gathering the 6th and 7th graders tomorrow to speak with them. Please know that this was a challenging decision to make, and we are working on plans to either reschedule the trips or provide an alternative curriculum. We are disappointed for your students, and recognize how difficult this is for them, but their safety and health are of our utmost concern.
As we know, the most effective means of staying healthy and minimizing the spread of any infectious disease to maintain excellent hygiene through washing hands effectively, covering sneezes and coughs, staying home when you feel ill, and keeping anyone whose immune system is compromised home.
Our staff and teachers have reinforced these measures with our students and are directing them to wash hands before and after recess and lunch, and throughout the day. Visual signs have been placed throughout the school, and serve as a reminder to wash hands and to do so thoroughly. Classes have been given additional cleaning products to wipe down desks, door knobs, and other high traffic areas throughout the day. Our cleaning staff has also been doing deep cleaning every evening.
Per CDC recommendations, we must require that you, your student, caretaker, aide, or anyone else helping your family, not enter our school if they:
- Are experiencing cold or flu symptoms,
- Have traveled to an area where the Coronavirus is active, including but not limited to, China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan,
- Have had contact with anyone who has been exposed to the Coronavirus
We ask you to please convey these requirements to anyone who comes to school on your behalf. Please also advise our office at 650-378-2600, or email email@example.com if you believe you have been exposed to Coronavirus or have had contact with someone who has been exposed to the Coronavirus.
Testing of Our One Call Now System:
We will be conducting a test of our One Call Now System tomorrow morning. Should there be any type of emergency in the future, the school will communicate to families through this system in addition to email if possible. If any of your contact information has changed recently, please be sure to notify the office.
While the media focuses much attention on the the Coronavirus, we want to reiterate that the CDC's current risk assessment states:
- For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
Please find these additional resources that we hope will be helpful to you:
- For kids - A comic to help explain the Coronavirus
- Childmind.org - "Talking to Your Kids About the Coronavirus"
- Childmind.org - "Helping Children Cope with Frightening News"
- CDC - "What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)"
- CDC - "COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers"
- San Mateo County Health Department Opens Public Call Center
We will continue to monitor directives from the CDC and county health department, and remain in constant contact with Bay Area independent schools and partner organizations. We will continue to evaluate programs and activities on a case-by-case basis and will modify or adjust plans as appropriate in light of information available at that time and what is in the best interest of our students and community. As always, we thank you for your continued partnership as we work together to support the health and safety of our students and community.
(In wholeness and health)