CIRCLEVILLE — The Ohio Department of Education has released information for school districts to aid in the discussion on the 2019 novel coronavirus but locally most of the schools are trying to prevent influenza from spreading further.
All of Pickaway County’s Public School districts are monitoring the coronavirus situation and while the threat is low, they are taking things seriously.
“While Ohio does not have any confirmed cases of the coronavirus to date and the threat is deemed low by these health organizations, we have seen all too frequently in the last decade plus how H1N1, West Nile, and other transmittable diseases and illnesses can bring an international health issue to the state,” Evan Debo, communications director for Circleville City Schools, said. “From the district’s standpoint, we believe in utilizing our communication channels to pass along information on any illness of importance from the CDC, ODH, and Pickaway County Public Health] as it becomes available to us to keep families informed.”
The districts, in addition to watching for coronavirus, are being vigilant about the flu that was going around and teacher illness was one of the reasons cited for Circleville’s closure Friday.
“Additionally, we also want our families to know the extent to which our facilities team goes to prevent the spread of any illness in the same breath as to be as transparent as possible about our health and safety policies and procedures for keeping kids healthy and in school,” Debo added.
At Westfall, the district is spreading the message to students to wash their hands frequently and to disinfect their Chromebooks.
“The staff at Westfall Local Schools have been taking the necessary precautions to maintain a healthy environment for our students,” Emily Clark, director of communications for the district noted. “District nurse, Nancy Downing, has been sending letters to parents regarding any classroom exposures and stressing the need for students to be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of analgesic medications of Tylenol and Ibuprofen.”
Julie DeLisio, director of communications at Teays Valley, said they haven’t done much to address coronavirus.
“All of our efforts have gone to educating our staff and students about influenza A and B, since that is what we are seeing here,” DeLisio explained.
There currently are no known cases of coronavirus in Ohio; however, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is watching a person for the virus but the risk is still considered low by the organization.
“This is part of public health’s ever-present work to balance public interest with the privacy rights of our individual citizens,” Amy Acton, director of ODH, stated in a release about how the department is going to monitor suspected cases. “We are committed to ensuring they receive proper, compassionate care and to preventing any possible spread of infectious disease.”
ODH and local health districts are working together to monitor and promote potential situations of infectious disease in the community and will share information twice a week with any update numbers on confirmed or potential cases on their website.
Among the information provided to districts includes health recommendations, cleaning recommendations for the schools and the status and information on the virus.
Acton reminded Ohioans to guard against letting fear or panic guide their actions and to be compassionate toward all people who are sick.
“Ohioans are known for treating one another, as well as visitors, with acceptance, respect, and understanding,” Acton said. “Whether someone is ill or well, a traveler or not, they deserve to be afforded the same kindness. Please keep this in mind as we learn more about 2019 novel coronavirus.”