Posted March 5, 2020
While we have no suspected or confirmed cases in our schools, I wanted to take a moment to reassure our parents and community members that the District is in close communication with the Ulster County Department of Health and our District physician to ensure we have the most accurate and up-to-date information available about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) illness.
The Ulster County Department of Health has assured us that there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ulster County. At this point, prevention remains the priority. The District is proactively taking preventative actions, which include:
- Increased disinfection of surfaces, including bathrooms, classrooms, cafeterias, door handles, desks, railings, our nurses’ offices, locker rooms, gym equipment, and school buses.
- Reminding students and staff about proper hand-washing and common sense ways to reduce the transmission of viruses.
- Monitoring illness-related absences and working with parents to ensure children are healthy before returning to school. Our teachers will always work with families to ensure absences related to illness do not hinder academic progress. Please don’t come to school if you are sick.
- Reviewing response plans and communicating with other school districts, municipalities, and county health officials so a swift response can be taken in the event action is needed.
Medical experts indicate the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same recommendations for preventing the spread of influenza, which include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your shirt sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Stay home if you are sick and do not send your student to school if they are feeling sick.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get vaccinated for influenza and stay up-to-date on other routine childhood and adult immunizations.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. County health officials advise that medical attention should be sought if you or a family member begin showing symptoms of respiratory illness and suspect it may be COVID-19. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.
Fortunately, very few cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in children. It is more common for those who have a weakened immune system or long-term health conditions, or who are older in age. If you have a child with a pre-existing illness, health officials advise you to discuss any increased risk with your primary care provider.
We are hopeful that preventative measures across the United States will limit the spread of this virus; however, we are alert and will continue to take any steps we can to help protect our schools and community from illness. In the event COVID-19 appears in our community, a response plan is in place and health officials are prepared to manage the situation.
It takes all of us working together to ensure healthy learning environments, and we appreciate your support and attention to this information. Should you like additional information, links to some recommended resources are provided below.
Thomas Bongiovi, Superintendent
Highland Central School District
Quick Links for your consideration:
- CDC's 2019-nCoV website
- NYS Department of Health's dedicated 2019-nCoV website
- NYS Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065