To: Lakeland School District Parents and Guardians
From: William F. King, Superintendent
Date: March 11, 2020 Subject: Important Information and Guidance about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Ensuring the health, safety and wellness of our students and staff is our highest priority in the Lakeland School District (LSD). LSD remains in close communication with the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health, along with the Center for Disease Control. We are utilizing the guidance from all of these state and national experts to make informed operational decisions, as we move forward with an abundance of caution as this Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve. As of this date, there are no identified cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Lakeland School District. However, we are continuing to implement proactive measures to minimize risk to students, employees, and families relating to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional guidance regarding prevention, student attendance, enrollment, re-entry of students, field trips and competitions are included below.
The Communications Department of the PA Department of Health announced today, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that the 13th and 14th cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in Bucks County. The breakdown of cases showed 8 cases in Northampton, 2 in Bucks, and 1 each in Delaware, Philadelphia, Wayne and Monroe counties.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. We are emphasizing the following, important prevention steps for all students and families as recommended by health officials:
● Stay home when you are sick, and keep your children at home when they are sick. As a reminder, students running a fever must stay home from school until they are symptom free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
● 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. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
● 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.
Students who provide written documentation from their healthcare provider advising them to refrain from attending school due to illness will be fully accommodated in accordance with Board Policy 203. As a reminder, students running a fever must stay home from school until they are symptom free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. If your child’s symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulty, please contact your medical provider immediately. Any questions regarding student attendance due to health related concerns should be directed to your child’s principal or school nurse.
Before enrolling, families of students from countries identified by the CDC as having travel advisories for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and states identified as having community spread (currently Washington, New York and California) should contact the PA Department of Health at Customer Service: 1 (877) 724-3258. We will work with local and state public health officials to determine the appropriate registration and attendance plan. Next steps and additional guidance will be directly communicated to inquiring families.
Re-entry of Students
Traveling parents and guardians should inform their school by telephone or email if anyone in their household has traveled to areas from countries with travel advisories due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), as identified by the CDC. Upon notification, schools will work with the PDE and the PA Department of Health, in coordination to determine the appropriate action regarding re-entry of those children into the school. Next steps and additional guidance will be directly communicated to inquiring families. For up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, visit the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
Given the steadily increasing numbers of reported cases both internationally and in the United States, including Wayne and Monroe Counties and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, LSD is taking proactive, immediate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, both within the LSD community and beyond. Out of an abundance of caution, all LSD-sponsored field trips to international and domestic out-of-state locations are cancelled until further notice. For trips that are scheduled, our trip moderators and Business Manager are working with the airlines, hotels, venues, museums, and other destinations to attempt to get refunds or credits, if applicable. For in-state field trips, the district will proceed with caution. The Superintendent and Principals, in conjunction with guidance provided by the PA Department of Health, will review and monitor all currently scheduled in-state field trip requests for any needed cancellations. All requests for new in-state field trips will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with special attention being placed on trips requiring air travel, events held in closed spaces, or events with 1,000 or more participants. We will continue to monitor updates from PDE, PDH and CDC, and will revisit our guidance for field trips as situations evolve.
Our Maintenance Department conducts deep and thorough cleanings of our schools and offices regularly. We are closely monitoring absence levels and reported illnesses and following the guidelines of local and state health agencies, to keep conditions in our schools and workplaces healthy and safe. If warranted, the district is prepared to deploy additional resources to ensure our school environments remain healthy.
Athletics, Regional, State, and National Competitions
LSD has not placed restrictions on student participation in Athletics, Regional, State, or National Competitions held within Pennsylvania; however, to ensure that caution is exercised when deemed necessary, the district will continue to work closely with the PIAA and local public health officials. Should any PIAA sanctioned athletics, extracurricular, or student competitions be restricted, postponed, or cancelled, parents will be immediately notified.
Who to Call
Additional information, questions or concerns about the Coronavirus, can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
We will continue to update you with important information on the Coronavirus as needed. Thank you for your support and cooperation in helping to keep our students and schools healthy and safe. If you have LSD-related questions or comments, please contact us.
William F. King
William F. King
Lakeland School District