Dear Skamania School District Families,
As you are likely aware, people in areas around the world are experiencing the respiratory illness COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus. While the number of cases of the virus in the United States and other countries is growing, the immediate risk of the virus to the general public is considered to be low.
With that said, this situation is evolving every day and I want to be sure the district is sharing information about where to find factual resources about the coronavirus and the actions that our district is taking to monitor the situation.
Official and factual information sources
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has created a Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 website with information and resources for the community and specifically schools. A fact sheet, which is available in 11 languages, as well as a page dedicated to schools is on this page. The site also includes workplace recommendations and links to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) resources and information. Both the DOH and CDC websites are updated regularly.
Actions the district is taking
Skamania School District is taking the following actions:
- Teaching and reminding students to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
- Frequently washing and disinfecting common surfaces, including phones and keyboards at school and on the buses.
- Planning for possible school closure by creating home study lessons.
- Providing hand sanitizers in the classrooms.
- Parents will be asked to pick up students who are sick.
We will continue to share information about this emerging public health issue with you directly and on our website at https://skamaniaschooldistrict.org. We are in communication with local public health officials to stay abreast of any changes or developments in this area and are committed to sharing these updates, as needed.
Out of abundance of caution, we are creating contingency plans should the situation in this state dramatically change. We will, of course, keep you informed about any developments in this unlikely scenario.
As new information emerges, it is important to remember and remind members of our community that COVID-19 is not connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. Blaming and/or shaming others will not help to fight the illness, however sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is critical to keeping misinformation at bay.
Reminders about how to prevent COVID-19 and other illness at school
According to the Department of Health, schools do not need to take any special precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of viruses in schools. The entire community can reduce the risk of getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, through these simple steps, which will also prevent COVID-19.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently and for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose. Help young children do the same.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
- Get a flu shot during the flu season.
- If you feel that you may have the virus, please contact the local health department for guidance.
The district will continue its routine cleaning procedures and will ensure that adequate soap, water and hand sanitizer are available for staff and student use.
I understand that this issue is at the top of our minds. Please reach out if you have questions.
Dr. Ralph Pruitt, Superintendent/Principal