Updates and Information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
After participating in a conference call with the director of the Department of Health on Wednesday evening (3/4/2020), the following updates and information about COVID-19 is being shared:
Smithfield nurses will ensure students and staff who become sick at school or arrive at school sick are sent home as soon as possible, and students and staff who seem to have flu symptoms will be separated from others until they can be sent home. We will not be requiring a doctor’s note for illnesses - for either students or staff during this time frame. If there is a specific attendance concern for an individual, we will talk with that individual separately.
If a student or staff member comes down with a suspected case of COVID-19, we will be consulting directly with the RIDOH about if it is necessary and/or appropriate to close a school.
Someone needs to be exposed to someone who actually has symptoms in order to be considered at high risk for contracting the illness. The DOH is not seeing widespread virus contamination in RI at this time. The general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is still low.
These recommendations remain in effect:
Hand hygiene - Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing. If soap and water is unavailable, sanitizers may be used. Avoid touching the face, as this is a means of transmitting viruses into the body. Hand shakes should be discontinued.
Respiratory etiquette- Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available) and throw the tissue in the trash after use, followed by hand washing.
Stay home if ill. Those with flu-like symptoms, including respiratory symptoms, should stay home from school and seek medical attention if the symptoms get worse.
Clean surfaces - Custodians have been instructed to clean door knobs and push bars, hand rails, faucets, bubblers, and other high-touch areas once per day with common cleaners. Our bus company has been instructed to clean buses daily. Cleaning must also take place immediately if there is contamination of surfaces with blood, stool or vomit.
Preventing stigma and discrimination - Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality. Being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
Please help us to teach children good practices to avoid virus infections while also providing comfort and confidence that they are not at a high risk for the coronavirus. For questions or concerns, use COVID-19 Hotline: 222-8022