Message from Supt. Walker: Coronavirus Update and Spring Break Travel

person using tissue

 

February 27, 2020 - Coronavirus update & Spring Break Travel

Dear IUSD Community,

IUSD continues to closely monitor the situation regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), while working with expert partner agencies to ensure we are providing our community with medically accurate and timely information. As you may be aware, on February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made statements during a briefing that signaled a change in tone from previous communications by asking individuals, communities, governments, businesses and schools to be prepared should the United States experience an increase in COVID-19 cases. In response, the County of Orange declared a COVID-19 emergency yesterday afternoon. County officials stated that although there are currently no cases of coronavirus in Orange County, their goal is to ensure resources are available and that all residents and visitors to Orange County are prepared.

Health Guidelines Remain the Same
Although these new developments may cause concern for some in our community, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has informed Orange County school districts that the following guidelines, published in my February 2 letter, have not changed.

  • Travelers to the United States, who have been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days, will face a mandatory quarantine and will be monitored by public health officials.
  • Travelers to the United States from mainland China will face enhanced screening and a self-quarantine of up to 14 days to ensure they do not pose a health risk.
  • OCHCA will exclude students under mandatory quarantine from school for 14 days from their last exposure and will communicate with Orange County school districts, colleges and universities to ensure high-risk students remain out of school for the identified period.
  • Students under voluntary self-quarantine should be excused from school during this period.

To read the full letter I sent to IUSD families on February 2, click here.

Spring Break Travel
As a reminder, if our families travel to mainland China or the Hubei province over the upcoming spring break, they will be subject to the above guidelines and any new guidelines that may be implemented. For a list of countries with COVID-19 travel advisories, visit travel.state.gov. We ask that if you travel to any affected countries that you follow all related guidelines to support the health and safety of our community.

Newly Enrolled Students
IUSD schools are providing guidelines to families of students enrolling in the District, which are available in Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish and can be found by clicking here.

According to the Health and Human Services declaration issued on January 31, federal and state officials are screening travelers entering the U.S. at ports of entry. IUSD cannot and does not have the ability to monitor travel of our students and their families. If we become aware that students enrolled in our District have traveled from affected regions, we provide families with the guidelines from expert health agencies and work confidentially and with compassion to support our students.

However, in accordance with state law, IUSD cannot ask for forms of identification related to immigration status. This includes asking for passports and checking travel status.

To support public health, IUSD follows the guidance of expert agencies, as outlined above, and we expect our community to do so as well. This community effort will help ensure the health and safety of those who attend, work and visit our campuses.

IUSD Preparedness
Over the last five years, IUSD has invested nearly $14 million in the safety and security of our campuses and District, which includes emergency preparedness and management planning. As part of this commitment to safety, IUSD is in the assessment phase of continuity planning that began in 2019, so that in the event of an earthquake, wildfire, widespread medical emergency, and other human made or natural disasters, the District will be able to continue instruction and maintain the operations of our school district.

Our planning efforts are geared toward a wide range of options for safely serving students that could include blended and/or online learning in the event of an emergency. IUSD will continue to develop plans, as part of our normal preparedness efforts, and our staff will account for any new developments related to COVID-19. To learn more about IUSD safety resources and investments, visit iusd.org/safety

What Parents and Students Can Do and Information
IUSD has and will continue to communicate with our students and families about the importance of:

  • Following all expert healthcare agency guidelines and IUSD’s health guidelines for students.
  • Keeping children home when they are sick.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or coughing into your elbow/upper arm (“vampire cough”) and teaching these habits to your children.
  • Frequent handwashing.
  • More healthy habits can be found by clicking here.
  1. As communicated, in my two previous letters, the District is committed to keeping our community informed. As we have updates, we will continue to provide that information to our community in a timely manner.

    Language Support
    Our language support team is in the process of translating this letter into Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish and will post them to iusd.org in the coming days. In the meantime, below are links for language support, please contact our team directly.

    Thank you for your support and engagement. Through our continued partnership, we can support the health and wellbeing of our students.

    Sincerely,

Signature

          Terry L. Walker
          Superintendent of Schools
          Irvine Unified School District

language support

For translated versions of previous communications, please see the communication archive section below. 

COMMUNICATION ARCHIVE:

February 2, 2020 - Update from superintendent walker

Dear IUSD Community,

Last Sunday, I communicated with you about the outbreak of pneumonia in China, caused by the Novel Coronavirus and concerns this may raise in our community. As committed, IUSD continues to monitor this situation and work closely with expert agencies such as the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). Below are revised health guidelines for schools from OCHCA in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national public health emergency declaration issued Friday, January 31, 2020.

Updated Federal GuidelinesFAQ
As part of the emergency declaration, which went into effect today (Sunday, February 2) at 11 a.m. PST., Americans returning to the United States, who have been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days, will face a mandatory quarantine and be monitored by public health officials. Americans returning to the United States from other parts of China will face enhanced screening and a self-quarantine of up to 14 days to ensure they do not pose a health risk.

Updated Guidelines for Orange County Schools
In response to the new federal guidelines, OCHCA will exclude students under mandatory quarantine from school for 14 days from their last exposure and will communicate with Orange County school districts, colleges and universities to ensure high-risk students remain out of school for the identified period. Students under voluntary self-quarantine should be excused from school during this period.

To support public health, IUSD follows the guidance of expert agencies and we expect our community to do so as well. This community effort will help ensure the health and safety of those who attend, work and visit our campuses.

It should be noted that according to OCHCA, at this time, there is only one confirmed case of the Coronavirus in Orange County (a man in his 50s who is isolated and in good condition). The risk to the public in Orange County and throughout the United States remains low.

Guidelines for IUSD Students Under Mandatory and Self-Quarantine
Please know that the District is committed to maintaining the privacy of our students. Our schools will work with students and families under mandatory or self-quarantine with sensitivity and confidentiality.

Mandatory Quarantine

  • OCHCA will notify IUSD of any students under mandatory quarantine, who have been excluded from attending school due to recent travel from China’s Hubei province within 14 days.
  • Once IUSD has received notification these individuals are cleared to return to campus, schools will communicate with affected families to make arrangements.
  • Schools will work with students to support continued learning at home.
  • Related absences will be excused.

Self-Quarantine

  • Students who have recently returned from other parts of China are asked to self-quarantine and provide schools with documentation and/or a doctor’s note.
  • Schools will work with students to support continued learning at home.
  • Related absences will be excused.

IUSD understands that missing school, for any reason, can cause concern and stress for our families and students. We will work collaboratively with families throughout this process. However, to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students and families, these guidelines have been put into place.

In addition, we ask parents, caregivers or others, who may be under mandatory or self-quarantine to remain off campus as well.

Masks
At this time, public health officials say there is no need to wear facemasks in the United States. However, as a precaution, students are allowed to wear facemasks on all IUSD campuses, if desired. Please note, IUSD students, who are sick must follow IUSD health guidelines and should not be sent to school sick, even if they wear a mask.

Additional Information and Resources
For information about healthy habits to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, IUSD health guidelines and FAQs from IUSD and OCHCA, click here.

IUSD staff will continue to closely monitor this situation, which is evolving as countries and expert health agencies learn more about the Coronavirus. As we have updates, information and resources from OCHCA or other agencies, the District will provide them to our community.

Language Support
Our language support team is in the process of translating this letter into Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish and will post them to IUSD.org in the coming days. In the meantime, below are links for language support, please contact our team directly.

Thank you in advance for your partnership. Together, we can keep our community healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Terry Walker Signature

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District

Click here to read the Orange County Health Care Agency FAQ and click here for IUSD’s updated FAQ.

Additional Resources:

Additional Language Support:

Language Support Links

 

January 26, 2020 - Update from superintendent walker

 

Dear IUSD Community,

You may have heard news reports about a new coronavirus that has caused an outbreak of a respiratory illness and that there has been a confirmed case in Orange County. We understand this may be a source of concern for our community and ask that you read the following important information.

OverviewFAQs

The first known cases of 2019-nCoV — short for “2019 novel coronavirus” — were reported in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS. A novel coronavirus — often shown as “nCoV” — is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) says the risk for school children in Orange County is minimal. Internationally the illness has primarily affected adults – elderly patients with pre-existing conditions.

According to the OCHCA, the Coronavirus is spread, similarly to other illnesses like the flu and common cold, through coughing or sneezing by those who already have it. Symptoms can include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OCHCA Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the OCHCA recommends taking these daily precautions for this or any other illness:

Travelers who are sick should stay home and call health care providers.

If you have recently been to Wuhan, China and have developed fever with cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel or have had contact with someone who is suspected to have novel coronavirus stay home and call your health care provider immediately. If you do not have a healthcare provider or if you need to be seen at a hospital, do not go directly to the hospital. Please call the emergency room to get instructions before going in.

Stay home when you are sick.

Stay home from work and school and try to avoid errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading the illness to others.

“Students and staff with influenza symptoms including a fever, a cough or sore throat should stay home and not attend classes or participate in other group activities for at least 24 hours after the fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medications,” says Pamela Kahn, Orange County Department of Education’s coordinator of Health and Wellness.

Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Cover your mouth and nose.

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 coughing, sneezing or unclean hands.

Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Here is a three-minute video from the CDC about proper hand washing: https://youtu.be/eZw4Ga3jg3E

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.

For more information, visit the Orange County Health Care Agency’s website at: ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/epidasmt/epi/dip/prevention/novel_coronavirus

IUSD Guidelines

If your child is sick, please follow these guidelines for when to keep your child home:

  • A temperature of 100 degrees or above
  • Students must be fever-free without fever-reducing medication (such as Tylenol or Motrin) for at least 24 hours before returning to school
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea. Student may return to school 24 hours after last episode
  • Uncontrollable cough or wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Suspected communicable disease (i.e. chicken pox)
  • Suspected infections
  • A rash of unknown origin – student may return to school when written authorization is received from the health care provider
  • Students must stay home for the first 24 hours on antibiotic therapy

Next Steps

IUSD staff will continue to closely monitor this situation and work with the appropriate agencies. We will provide additional updates as needed.

Please know that the safety of students and staff is our top priority. If we all follow these important guidelines, we can help keep our community healthy. Please share this information with your family and caregivers. If language support is needed for this information, please see the following resources below.

Thank you in advance for your partnership.

Sincerely,

Terry Walker Signature

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District

Additional Resources:

Additional Language Support:

IUSD Language Support Text