March 6, 2020
Dear Mansfield Families,
This communication provides an update on the response of the Mansfield Public Schools to the spread of Coronavirus. Multiple agencies across the state and nation have been providing us with resources and guidance and update this information frequently as the situation evolves. Please see below for information and resources, and reach out to school administrators or nurses should you have additional questions.
Actions to Reduce the Spread of the Virus
Cleaning: Our enhanced cleaning protocols have been enacted with extra cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs and classroom tables, desks, and counters. Classroom sinks, water fountains, and bathrooms are cleaned daily and beginning Monday, additional, mid-day cleaning of bathrooms and water fountains will begin. In addition, all teachers have been provided with disinfecting cleansers for use as needed.
Bus Cleaning: Our provider, M&J Bus, has also implemented enhanced cleaning protocols. Frequently touched surfaces on the bus are cleaned daily with disinfect and thorough cleaning of every bus is occurring weekly. In addition, trash is emptied throughout the day so that tissues and other items do not linger on the bus.
Personal Hygiene: Teachers are reminding students of the importance of washing hands and providing students time to do so. Please help us by also reminding your children not to put their hands on their face or in their nose or mouth. It is surprising just how many times a day we touch our face!
Illnesses: Students and employees are reminded to stay home when ill and to seek medical attention as needed. Our policy requires that students be fever-free, without medication, for 24 hours prior to returning to school (a fever is defined as 100.4 or higher).
Preparation for School Closings
Thus far, the virus has not been found in children under ten years of age however, one of the strategies for reducing the spread of this virus is to enact “social distancing” (keeping people away from or within a six foot radius of others). In some places, schools have been closed for the purpose of reducing contact with others. The Connecticut State Department of Education issued guidance yesterday on school closures. While they are not recommending any school closings at this time, we were asked to consider how we might maintain continuity of learning should schools close and to alert families that you may need to develop plans for childcare. Our own planning for continuity of instruction is beginning.
Talking with Your Child
We know that anxiety among children can be heightened when they see news reports and hear adults talking about their own concerns. It is important to share factual information. You might find this resource from NPR of interest. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus.
Our school nurses and psychologists have other resources that may be helpful. Feel free to reach out.
For the most comprehensive collection of information about the virus, go to https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Public-Health-Preparedness/Main-Page/2019-Novel-Coronavirus. Superintendents are provided with weekly updates from the CT State Department of Education and are in regular contact with local departments of public health. Communications to families will be sent as new information becomes available.
Kelly M. Lyman