LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – As concern regarding a Coronavirus outbreak spreads across the United States, the Alabama Department of Public Health is sending guidance information to Universities, Colleges and the State Department of Education. News 3 reached out to Auburn, Opelika and Lee County schools to see how each district is preparing.
Daniel Chesser, a spokesperson for Auburn City Schools, says the system is attentive to the concern for and threat of COVID-19, Coronavirus. School administrators and the team of registered nurses are monitoring the situation and educating themselves on the matter.
“Response and action will be based on the collective guidance of government and health officials. As always, precautions for student safety and measures of illness prevention remain our top priority,” ACS Spokesperson Daniel Chesser told News 3.
A confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) would be classified as an Immediate, Extremely Urgent Disease/Condition. In the case of confirmed infection in schools or community, Auburn City Schools would collaborate with East Alabama Medical Center, the Lee County Emergency Management Agency, The Montgomery County Health Department Epidemiology Division and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to plan for how this evolving situation could impact system operations.
If you were in China or a country with active community transmission in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, patients are urged to call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Those with a concern should avoid contact with others. For the protection of others, patients should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Schools are asking families who have traveled to impacted regions to monitor their health closely.
“It is critically important for parents or guardians to inform their school if they have traveled to or from or been exposed to anyone who was sick AND has traveled to/returned from countries affected with COVID-19 in the last 14 days,” said Chesser.
If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should: Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Avoid contact with others.
Do not travel while sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
Students and families are reminded to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid the spread of any potential illness. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. To prevent the spread of any illness, it is best to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Opelika City Schools continue monitoring the situation and will follow the CDC and Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines.
Spokesperson Becky Brown tells News 3, “We are following the same protocol used for flu outbreaks which include disinfecting contaminated areas and asking those who are sick to stay at home.”
Brown says the system continues to encourage everyday preventive actions in our schools to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. Some of those actions include:
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.
Lee County School leaders tell News 3 they are being proactive ordering several machines to sanitize buildings for airborne viruses, nurses are meeting with the school’s cleaning product provider who is on site this week discussing sanitizing options.