Coronavirus Letter from Superintendent Foley

March 1, 2020

Dear RSU5 Families & Staff,  

March is here, and our students and staff are still grappling with the flu. With the outbreak of Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) worldwide, this has added to the concerns about the safety of our students’ health. Thus far, there are currently no reported cases in Maine and the chance of an outbreak is low. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is responding by working with the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) to provide frequent guidance and updates to all districts throughout Maine. Additionally, we have a District Safety Committee that meets regularly to ensure the safety and health of all our students and staff.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, it is most likely you have a cold or flu. As a precaution, students or staff who recently traveled outside the United States and who have respiratory symptoms or fever should inform their health care provider about their travel history. I want to remind staff, students, and parents about steps we can all take to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as the flu:

  • Students and staff should stay home when they are sick. If students or staff members have a fever, they should stay home until they are fever-free without the use of medication for 24 hours.
  • Everyone – students, staff, school volunteers and visitors – should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The CDC says this is the first line of defense. If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

In the event of an outbreak in our community, we will follow CDC recommendations and we will be providing frequent communication to all stakeholders. Those recommendations could include school closings. School closing decisions are typically made by the Maine CDC, and depend on the number of people infected and the risk of the disease spreading.

Sincerely,

Becky Foley
Superintendent of Schools





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