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Rich Township High School District 227 News Article

Superintendent's Message: Important Health Update

March 7, 2020 

Dear District 227 Families,

The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are our highest priority here at Rich Township High School District 227. Last week’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control about the likely spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the United States has understandably caused concern in the Rich Township community. 

 

Although the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases in the United States was 164 as of Saturday, March 7 (including six cases in Illinois), the virus is expected to spread throughout the country. We want to take a moment to reinforce best-practice preventative safety measures and reference our working process, decision-making, and communication in the extreme event of a virus infection affecting the Rich Township High School District 227 community.

  • Families with students that have returned recently from mainland China should not attend school for 14 days after the return date. We also encourage family members of these students to not attend work if they also traveled to mainland China. This precaution will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

  • At this time, neither federal nor state health authorities are recommending that schools cancel classes. Should the situation worsen and warrant the closing of school, Rich Township High School District 227 will communicate with families and the community via robo-call, website, and social media.

  • Our nurses will remain vigilant in monitoring the student body, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms associated with the virus. The nurses are in frequent contact with the Cook County Health Department to receive the latest guidance. Currently, public health officials are not recommending the use of masks or gloves in public settings.

  • Buildings and Grounds personnel, which oversee our custodial services, continue to follow the recommended processes for cleaning and disinfecting with products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

While the coronavirus news is concerning, we believe it is important to point out that, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are other respiratory viruses like influenza currently circulating in Illinois. Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing are symptoms associated with all of them. Therefore, anyone exhibiting these symptoms should not be assumed to have COVID-19. If your student, or anyone in your family, develops such symptoms, we urge you to contact your medical provider immediately.

In the meantime, we reiterate the following recommended precautions that you and your family can take for protection:

 

  • Wash 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 with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • 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.

 

Also, if you or anyone in your family has traveled to or from mainland China within the past month, we ask that you contact your school nurse.

 

Here are links for more information on the coronavirus outbreak:

 

Centers for Disease Control:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

Illinois Department of Public Health:

http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus

 

Cook County Department of Public Health

https://www.cookcountypublichealth.org


Respectfully,

Dr. Johnnie Thomas

Superintendent

Rich Township High School District 227


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