COVID-19 District Plan
Safety and security is our number one priority in Somerset County Public Schools. We are carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. The current risk level is LOW.
How Somerset County Public Schools is preparing for the Coronavirus:
Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. Our district is closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 in the United States and we are following the guidance of the Somerset County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). As always, we work closely with public health officials and follow their expert recommendations to best ensure the safety of everyone in our school community.
After thoughtful consideration and deep discussions with individuals who are invested in both the education and well-being of our community, Somerset County Public Schools has decided to implement the following:
- All school sponsored field trips for students and employee trainings outside of the state of Maryland are suspended until further notice and this will be reevaluated at the end of March 2020.
- Staff will actively encourage and practice “social distancing” which means we will refrain from greetings such as hugs or shaking hands to minimize the risk of transmission. Some alternatives to shaking hands and hugging are placing your hand on your heart, waving, or giving an air “fist bump” in which no contact actually occurs.
- For students demonstrating signs of illness, their temperature will be taken, and if a fever is detected, the student will immediately be isolated and sent home.
Our community is saturated with information and opinions about the situation - especially from the media who are now providing near 24/7 coverage. In an effort to maintain calm and work toward practical responses to keep our community safe, we have assembled our district crisis team to communicate with health officials and review the infectious disease response plan. This plan covers a response to all pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites). The infectious disease response plan covers items such as:
- Surveillance and reporting practices - early detection is critical to preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses
- Action steps for staff including: proper protection (such as wearing gloves), consulting with health officials, and implementation of disinfectant practices
- Checklist for a pandemic including possible school closure procedures
Any guidance regarding a potential school closing will come from the Maryland Department of Health. At this time, we are not being advised to close schools or modify our instructional practices.
As a precautionary measure, we have increased the level of cleaning and sanitizing within our schools. Each day/night, custodial staff dusts, vacuums, and cleans restrooms - including wiping down all surfaces that are touched in the course of using the facility. They also disinfect restrooms, drinking fountains, and other high-contact surfaces each night. At least twice a week, staff will use disinfectant products to clean all classroom surfaces.
Ways to support a clean environment:
If you would like to make a donation of a cleaning product for your child's classroom or school, please utilize the following product list:
- Tissues (any brand)
- Sanitizing wipes for surfaces (Clorox or Lysol are approved for use in our schools)
- Sanitizing wipes for hands (any brand - please be mindful of fragrances and try to purchase fragrance free wipes)
- Hand sanitizer
Our district leadership team has started to engage in contingency planning for the possibility of an extended school closure should the situation in our state dramatically change in the coming weeks.
Preventing the spread of illness - any illness - is a community responsibility. Each day, we welcome children into our schools, noting that some of them do not feel well. Though our school teams work quickly to send ill students home, it’s important to carefully assess your child’s ability to attend school each day. If your child is exhibiting symptoms of illness, please keep your child home.
Finally, just as the district is reviewing plans for COVID-19, it is important to make family plans for the virus. The CDC recommends making a household plan now, when the risk level is low. Though early data suggest older people are more likely to have serious illness, part of the CDC’s guidance for family illness planning includes making arrangements for childcare. The full household planning list is available on the CDC website.
Together, we can work to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment. Thank you for your attention to this matter, your cooperation in practicing healthy behavior, and your support of Somerset County Public Schools.