Here's how we're attacking the coronavirus

Here's how we're attacking the coronavirus
Posted on 03/03/2020

Greetings and Happy Tuesday! Lots going on to report on, but "first things first!"

Over the past few weeks, you have most likely heard reports from the news media and others about the necessity for state and local officials, including school districts, to prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). To ensure that Quakertown is prepared for any potential of such an event and to understand the impact on our students, staff, and local community, I attended a countywide forum today hosted by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Doylestown.

Among those attending were personnel from the Bucks County Health Department, Bucks County Emergency Services, all six Bucks County hospitals, all 13 Bucks County School Districts, and three Career and Technical Centers (CTCs), Delaware Valley University, and the Bucks County Community College.

As of this morning, there are no known or reported cases of coronavirus in Bucks County or in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was also shared that the coronavirus is transmitted like the common flu virus and can be eliminated with good cleaning and personal hygiene habits and practices. Our schools already practice standard cleaning procedures every day, and the Bucks County Health Department offered assurances this morning that those cleaning procedures will successfully kill the virus on contact surfaces. Last week, we prioritized deeper cleaning by our SSC custodial staff on high volume touchpoints in schools - desktops, door handles, handrails in stairwells, etc. We also asked Mr. Levy to do the same with his buses. We also purchased hand sanitizer for every classroom. It is due to arrive later this week.

In addition, like other school districts, Quakertown already has procedures in place to respond to reports of communicable illnesses, including the coronavirus. These are similar procedures to what we used 10 years ago with the H1N1 virus. The Bucks County Health Department, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, issues guidance and direction to health care providers and schools when necessary during a potential outbreak situation. Quakertown works directly with these health agencies to keep our students, staff, and greater community safe. The Bucks County Health Department will notify us of any confirmed cases of the coronavirus in our region and will provide guidance and information for distribution to families.

You can find more information about the coronavirus at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website which is updated frequently with information about the coronavirus. The CDC also offers helpful FAQs about the coronavirus. In addition, the PA Department of Health Coronavirus website is a good source of information.

Some tips from the website to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as coronavirus, include:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a 60 percent or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, electronic devices, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to help prevent others from catching your illness. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Quakertown will continue to work closely with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, county leaders, and state officials to keep you informed about developments in this region and any resulting actions that may be necessary. I want to assure you that we are fully cooperating with federal, state, and county recommendations regarding the flu, coronavirus, and other communicable illnesses. We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

As always, the safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our #1 priority. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child’s principal, or contact me.

Have a good evening!

Bill Harner

Superintendent

Email: wharner@qcsd.org

Twitter: @billharner

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