March 6: District Update On COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Posted March 6, 2020
We continue to monitor COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and plan for how this could potentially impact students, staff and families with Westside Community Schools. We plan to update you and our families weekly with information as we learn how this could potentially impact the Omaha metro area. We know many of you have questions and concerns, and our goal is to provide you with accurate information as this situation develops and changes.
There are many unknowns at this point and we are in frequent contact with state and local health officials to get their medical advice and input. This is a community-wide effort including government agencies and our local school districts. Medical experts have advised the public, including school districts, to prepare for several scenarios. One of those potential scenarios could include homebound instruction using our 1:1 technology if government officials direct schools to close for any period of time. Again – this is just one of many potential scenarios; we do not yet know if any activities will be cancelled or if schools will close, nor do we know if/when. It is our job to plan ahead and be prepared as possible for many different scenarios that would be out of our control. With that in mind, Westside Department leaders are working together to evaluate district plans currently in place, as advised by public health officials. We will follow all guidelines the Douglas County Health Department shares with us, and share those plans with you as we learn more about COVID-19 and see how it impacts the Omaha metro area. We are discussing many areas potentially affected by any changes, including curriculum, activities, food services, child care options, and our special needs students. Regardless of what happens, we want to be prepared.
We hope that by sharing this information with you, you, too can discuss plans with and for your family. The Douglas County Health Department has created a free informational help line for COVID-19: 402-444-3400 . They have also created an informational website with links, frequently asked questions and answers, and advice on prevention measures. CLICK HERE for the Douglas County Health Department Informational Website on COVID-19.
Our approach right now is planning and prevention. We are distributing posters and other informational items from the CDC to each of our buildings about overall health precautions like handwashing. Our Facilities Team will also continue their hard work to ensure our schools are clean. Our custodial staff has already put additional cleaning guidelines in place for cold and flu season, and will make sure these efforts continue. We will also reinforce measures we promote all year for overall health, like making sure hand sanitizer is readily available in all classrooms and throughout our buildings. A quick note regarding the use of masks: the CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.
We ask you to help us with these efforts by talking to you children about things they can do to stay healthy, like coughing in their elbow and ‘hitting elbows’ instead of high fives and handshakes. As always, please keep your child home if they are ill and help us limit the spread of germs. Included below is our ‘too sick for school’ informational sheet to remind you about the symptoms that would prompt you to keep a child home.
Finally, we realize many of you are taking questions from your children about Coronavirus. One of our administrators shared this great video that helps explain what this is and why we are planning for it. Some of our teachers who are fielding questions may share this in class. We welcome you to share with your children as well if you choose. CLICK HERE to view the Coronavirus informational video, produced by Brain Pop.
Thank you for your help and support. We will keep you updated each week as we learn more.
Westside Community Schools