- Community and Parents
Dear Westside Families,
The health and wellness of students, staff, volunteers and families is our highest priority. When any alarming incident like the 2019 novel COVID-19 occurs, we all want honest information. I am writing today to update you on the state of the COVID-19 from our perspective. I also want to share information regarding steps that we are taking to minimize the chance of transmission at our school sites.
The novel COVID-19 has garnered extensive attention worldwide. There are only a very limited number of cases in the United States, but we can expect the number of domestic cases to increase over coming weeks.
At this time, the risk of exposure to Westside students, staff and volunteers is extremely limited but caution should, nonetheless, be observed. We can all take common-sense precautions to minimize the chances of transmission within our community. Importantly, these precautions will help prevent the spread of communicable illnesses which our schools are far more likely to encounter, such as the common cold, various flu strains and gastroenteritis.
Actions by Westside Union School District to Keep Our Schools Healthy
Although there are no plans to cancel school days at this time, we are carefully monitoring this situation in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. We are actively working to keep our schools as healthy as possible in other ways, including:
- Regular Interaction with Health Partners. We remain in regular contact with health officials for new guidance. We will maintain ongoing communications within the district as this situation evolves and we can share new information.
- Respiratory Etiquette Instruction. All teachers are being instructed to teach their students about the most hygienic way to manage oral and nasal discharge when they sneeze and cough. They are also being instructed to encourage students to frequently wash their hands and maintain heightened hygiene.
- Limiting Exposure Among Students. Should any student arrive at school and report feeling ill, they will be cared for in the Health Office, away from other students until their families arrive to bring them home.
- Safe and Clean Environment. Sanitary supplies such as hand soap, tissues, paper towels and hand sanitizer are available throughout school sites. Donations of disposable tissues from Westside families and businesses are greatly appreciated.
In addition to these steps to maintain a healthy environment, there are many steps that families can take to help keep our children healthy.
Recommendations to Help Keep Schools Healthy
- Stay home when sick. If cold and flu-like symptoms emerge, students, staff and volunteers should remain home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Seek medical care if cold or flu-like symptoms become severe (e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing). In such cases, families should call their doctor before arriving at their office so they can prepare for the visit and provide a sanitary mask to avoid transmission of any pathogens.
- When coughing or sneezing, turn away from others and cover the mouth with a tissue, a sleeve or elbow. Never use a hand to cover a cough because this will only make transmission more likely. When using a tissue, immediately discard it in a waste bin.
- Wash hands frequently throughout the day, including backs of hands and fingernails.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as this increases the chances of transmission.
- DO NOT utilize surgical masks to prevent exposure to the virus because they do not work. Such masks are only effective in preventing the sick person wearing them from transmitting the virus to others.
For additional information on the novel COVID-19 and what you can do to stay healthy please visit the following websites.
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control
- CDC's "Cover Your Cough" page
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the health and wellness of the students of Westside Union School District. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can provide any additional information.
Westside Union School District