Oregon School District classes and activities will continue as usual — for now — as district officials keep a close watch on local, state and national coronavirus updates.
In a letter sent to district parents on Monday, March 2, district superintendent Brian Busler said health officials were not recommending schools require students or staff to wear masks or gloves, cancel large gatherings or classes.
“At this time, there have been a small number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and health officials indicate the risk to our school community is low at this time,” he wrote.
Busler said district officials are closely monitoring and following recommendations from sources including OSD medical adviser Dr. Joanna Bisgrove, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.
The district also re-sent to all families from school nurses, reminding when students should stay home if they are feeling sick. The district encouraged students, staff and families to be mindful of key preventive measures from the CDC on avoiding the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses:
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;
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze;
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
Stay home when you are sick (students must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication before returning to class after any illness).
The CDC recommended the United States plan for disruptions to everyday activities such as school and work. The virus has resulted in more than 400 cases of COVID-19 in 34 states and 19 fatalities in the state of Washington. Both California and New York have had more than 100 positive diagnoses each.
The first cases of COVID-19 were seen in China in late 2019, and the disease has since spread internationally, affecting 90,000 people and killing 3,000. The coronavirus family is also responsible for the common cold and respiratory syndromes such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 is considered to be an epidemic in countries such as China, Korea and Italy, but it has not been declared a worldwide pandemic.