Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Message #2 From Superintendent Kirby On COVID-19

March 10, 2020 (sent at 11:45 a.m.)
Dear CH-UH Families, Staff & Community Members,

As cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are now being reported in Cuyahoga County, I want to provide another update on how our district is preparing. Below are a few questions we’ve received, along with concerns that may be on your mind.

How will CH-UH determine if the school(s) will need to be closed due to COVID-19?
This decision will be based on guidance and recommendations from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We spoke directly to Cuyahoga County Health officials this morning and they indicated there was no need to close any of our school buildings at this time. As suggested by the CDC, we will continue our usual monitoring of absenteeism and will report large increases of absences to local health officials.

It came to our attention this morning that a child from outside of the CH-UH District had shared space with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 while on an out-of-state trip approximately 8 days ago. The child had been in the Monticello auditorium after school last Wednesday and Thursday and is currently on day two of a 14-day self-quarantine (not mandated). The child has thus far not exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19.

Cleaning staff immediately deployed our Clorox 360 machine in the auditorium and main hallway, along with other areas where this student may have been. The Clorox 360 machine disinfects entire spaces and surfaces, and kills virtually all viruses, including coronavirus. The machine will be used throughout the entire Monticello building tonight.

How are schools and buses being disinfected?
Our Building Standards require that all student desks are wiped down each day with a disinfectant. In their daily duties, building cleaning staff disinfect virtually all touch surfaces. Hand sanitizers are available in most classrooms and common spaces. The Business Services Department has ordered a spray disinfectant for bus drivers to use on seats and all touch surfaces.

Will instruction continue online if we close school(s)?
Most CH-UH teachers actively use Google Classroom. Should we close a school or multiple schools, our instructional team has agreed to encourage teachers to stay in communication with their students and use Google Classroom as a way to facilitate lessons remotely. 

Students also have access to Study Island from the student portal. This online learning platform delivers lessons and activities for students based on their current grade level. Staff should take their devices home each night in case of a school closure. Of course, our first concern in such a situation will be assuring student health and safety; making up assignments and testing will come second. 

What are some important points to discuss when talking with my child about coronavirus?
Whenever there’s a crisis making headlines, most parents want to alleviate their children’s fears while also being honest about the situation. The National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses have put together a list of tips when talking to children of all age groups about COVID-19.

Per the CDC, schools are not expected to screen students or staff to identify cases of COVID-19. However, our school nurses have protocols in place should a student exhibit signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Finally, we continue to emphasize good hygiene practices to all of our students, staff, and families. Recommended by the CDC:

-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-Stay home when you are sick.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

An update with additional information is forthcoming after a scheduled webinar for districts with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Thank you for working with us to keep our school community healthy.

Superintendent Liz Kirby

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