The safety of our students and staff is our top responsibility. Richland Parish Schools is in communication with the Louisiana Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. Of the approximately 90,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, less than 1% of cases are in the U.S. (as of 3/2/20).
Health officials have shared that the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus are the same preventions recommended for the flu and common cold. As we are still in cold and flu season, we advise you and your student(s) to take these everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Stay home and seek appropriate medical attention when you are sick (fever, dry cough, body aches, etc…).
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The constant rubbing action helps soap break down the grease and dirt that carry most germs. This way, your hands don’t just smell fresh, but you’ll also reduce the germ count on your hands by up to 99%.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid sharing your food, dishes, utensils, and other personal hygiene items.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and place immediately in the trash.
- Avoid shaking hands.
In addition to encouraging employees and families to follow the above preventative actions, we are taking the following additional steps to minimize the chance of an outbreak at one of our schools:
- Increasing sanitation efforts in our schools and buildings, including restrooms, cafeterias, classrooms, etc.
- Requiring all employees to complete online training for common illness prevention.
- Holding informational webinars for principals and school nurses.
- Reporting to a school principal if a current student or staff member has traveled to a country on the CDC’s risk assessed list. Out of an abundance of caution, we request that these students and staff wait for the 14-day incubation period (beginning the day of return to the U.S.) to expire before returning to school or work.
- Asking new families who register whether the student has traveled internationally within the last two weeks. Out of an abundance of caution, we request that any students who’ve traveled to a country on the CDC’s risk assessed list wait for the 14-day incubation period (beginning the day of return to the U.S.) to expire before enrolling in school.
- Monitoring absences daily.
- Permitting already scheduled out-of-state trips, but until further notice, limiting new out-of-state travel for student field trips, competitions, etc.
- No longer incentivizing perfect attendance for students and staff. If students or staff are sick, they should remain at home to avoid possible infection of others.
- Limiting large scale non-essential assemblies. Out of an abundance of caution and until further notice, we are recommending limiting assemblies during the school day.
- Intentionally and persistently combating stigma. As new information emerges, it’s important we remember that the risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality.
As this is an ongoing situation, the CDC updates its online resources daily. These can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. To ensure our education leaders are equipped with the most important, up-to-date information and resources, the Louisiana Department of Education has created a dedicated page on its website focused on preventing and responding to COVID-19 in schools and early learning centers. All information and resources will be continually updated at https://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/covid-19.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update you if we have more information.
Richland Parish School Board