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Coronavirus Information

Updated Sunday, March 1

Have you heard of coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus illness that had not been seen in humans before recently.

There are two cases of coronavirus COVID-19 identified in Oregon as of Sunday, March 1. You can review statewide tracking here. Based on current information, the Centers for Disease Control and our local and state public health departments consider that the risk to most Oregonians is low.

The Eugene School District is closely monitoring the situation, actively planning for the potential that COVID-19 could affect our schools, and taking extra steps to reduce the spread of germs, including extra cleaning and handwashing.

We are in frequent contact with public health authorities and are following their informed guidance. We are also working with our staff to keep our schools clean and students healthy. We have encouraged any staff and students with respiratory illnesses to stay home.

Everyone can do their part to help be prepared for this emerging public health concern. It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season. Public health officials note that many of the everyday precautions we take to prevent flu and the common cold are useful in protecting against the spread of COVID-19.

  • Oregon Health Authority: How can I avoid getting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? Right now, the risk of getting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low in the U.S. Steps you can take to prevent the spread of flue and the common cold can also help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you're sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. For more information visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus.Wash hands: The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands, often! Wash hands thoroughly—for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough: Practice proper cough and sneeze hygiene with your children: do not cough or sneeze on other people, cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue and throw it away, then wash your hands.
  • Stay home when sick: Students with fever or acute respiratory illness should stay home from school until they are free of fever and other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. Please notify your school office that your student is staying home due to illness.

Public health officials recommend taking these precautions to stay healthy and prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well, and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
  • If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. (such as during spring break), consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s health, please contact your healthcare provider.

There are also basic steps every household should take to prepare for any unexpected event:

  • Establish a childcare plan in the event your kids need to stay home from school.
  • Learn about your employer’s sick leave and telecommuting policies.
  • Make sure you have the kinds of foods, drinks, medications and pet supplies you would want if you needed to stay home and limit your contact with other people for a couple weeks.
  • Get to know your neighbors, especially those who might need extra help like seniors or people living alone.
  • In the face of rumors, check a reliable information source such as www.oregon.gov/oha.

We have no current plans to close any school.  If public health officials recommend a temporary school closure, we will communicate directly to families including by email, phone and text messages. Please note that if a school closure became necessary, the district would not be able to provide supervision of students. Now is a good time to make plans for childcare, just in case.

Finally, there have been some reports about bullying and discrimination against Asians and Asian-Americans in other communities, as the novel coronavirus started spreading in China. We ask that students, families and staff be mindful that bullying of students based on race, color, national origin, or disability is unacceptable in our school district.

We will continue to provide updated information on the district website as the situation evolves.

More information and ongoing updates from public health officials are available online, including:

     

 

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