You are probably aware of recent events and the concern over the global 2019 novel coronavirus (also reported as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV) outbreak.
Most of these cases have been reported in China, Europe, and other Asian countries. At this time there are 28 cases in the United States, over half if those are on the west coast. To date, there have been no cases reported in Georgia. However, with the media attention surrounding this event and the fact that your child’s health and safety are our highest priority, we want to assure you that we are closely monitoring this situation and are prepared to address any situation should it become a concern in Georgia and the Brookwood Christian community.
Common viruses circulate every year in the United States, and they usually cause upper respiratory illnesses such as the common cold (rhinovirus and other, non COVID-19, coronaviruses), influenza, adenovirus, etc. These can have symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which are also symptoms of COVID-19. According to the Georgia Department of Health, the overall risk of coronavirus to the general public and schools is very low. However, that does not mean that we should not take reasonable cautionary steps and continue to monitor the situation.
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered LOW.
So far, it seems the new virus is more likely to infect older adults, particularly people with chronic health problems. And those who have died from the virus in China tend to be much older, with an average age in their 70s.
We are encouraging students to follow basic measures for everyday preventative steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
• Wash hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. To ensure 20 seconds sing the Happy Birthday song twice or the ABC song, including the “now I know my ABCs” part.
• Dry hands! Wet skin spreads germs. Use paper towels rather than air dryers as studies have confirmed they spread germs at an alarming rate.
• If soap and water are not available,use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (hand sanitizer should NOT replace hand washing if available).
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash hands afterward.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Keep sick children home from school and limit their contact with others while sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including cell phones, keyboards, and doorknobs using regular household cleaning spray or a disinfectant wipe.
• Get a flu shot every year. It is not too late to get one now.
Brookwood Christian School is committed to the health and wellness of our students, faculty and families. We are following the above procedures at school and will send home students with fever or obvious signs of illness.
We will continue to be in contact with the Cobb County Health Department, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other appropriate state and federal agencies as we monitor any changing conditions. Likewise, if any concerns arise in our school we will share that information with the appropriate departments immediately.
Fortunately, because of our accreditation, in the unlikely event of school closings, we are able to use distance learning and home assignments to count toward hours. Please note, we are NOT expecting any closings, but under the advice of health agencies, we are developing a plan in the event of a situation.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary. Atlanta, Georgia: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; February 25, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html?
- Journal of the American Medical Association. Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association; February 24, 2020. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762130
- Lysol. Coronavirus: Understanding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Reckitt Benckiser LLC: Parsippany, NJ; https://www.lysol.com/healthy-home/understanding-coronavirus/ (accessed 2/26/2020)
- Facitlity Management. The Great Debate: Paper Towels vs. Air Dryers. FM Communications: Danvers, MA; http://facilitymanagement.com/restroom-paper-towels-air-dryers/ (accessed 2/27/2020)
- National Public Radio. Coronavirus Is Contagious, But Kids Seem Less Vulnerable So Far. Washington, DC: National Public Radio; February 20, 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/20/807483553/coronavirus-is-contagious-but-kids-seem-less-vulnerable-so-far