COVINGTON— After two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported in Fulton County and confirmed by Gov. Brian Kemp Monday night, Newton County Public Schools Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey offered reassurance to parents, families and other stakeholders addressing district-wide pandemic procedures and concerns.
Officials reported that the two Atlanta patients live in the same household. One of the patients is a man who recently traveled to Italy. Both patients have isolated themselves at home with other relatives.
Fuhrey said Newton school system officials are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state Public Health Department and other health and emergency preparedness and response authorities across the state.
“We are also working with other local governmental agencies to ensure appropriate community mitigation plans are in place to prepare for the possibility of a local occurrence,” Fuhrey said in a prepared statement. “As an existing practice, we diligently monitor our schools for the spread of communicable illnesses and have protocols in place that were developed in conjunction with the DPH to help prevent and minimize the spread of viruses and other illnesses that may occur. Should we become aware of a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus within our school district, we will immediately notify parents/guardians and staff members, as we do for other similar illnesses. Additionally, our website includes a page where we will post the most up-to-date information available to us.”
Fuhrey also recommends that families take the time to visit the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov) where health professionals offer advice and tips including:
♦ Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
♦ If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
♦ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
♦ Avoid close contact with sick individuals.
♦ Stay home when you are sick.
♦ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.♦
♦ Return to school only after being fever free for 24 hours.
The CDC has also created a interim guide suggesting that school administrators be proactive and plan ahead:
“Schools should continue to collaborate, share information and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community, including those with special health needs. School plans should be designed to minimize disruption to teaching and learning and protect students and staff from social stigma and discrimination.”