March 9, 2020
Dear Members of the Bourne PS Community,
In an effort to keep you informed, we are providing information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and resources to help you discuss it with your children. At this point, there is no significant risk to the BPS community relative to COVID-19. District plans or responses are being developed in accordance with the latest guidance from the Bourne Board of Health, MA Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The health and safety of our students and staff are paramount and we intend to be very thoughtful in our planning and preparedness moving forward. As of today, we are postponing all international student travel. Discussions continue about domestic trips and large scale gatherings as we await guidance from the state. In general, unless an official cancellation/postponement is issued from BPS then the event/trip is moving forward as planned.
Below are some frequently asked questions and resources that will be updated as new information becomes available. You can access up-to-date information about COVID-19 on the MA DPH COVID-19 website and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Currently, the immediate risk to the general public in Massachusetts is considered to be low. Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
Students and staff can reduce their risk for getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, by taking simple steps which will also prevent COVID-19. These include:
- Staying home when they are sick.
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after they blow their nose.
- If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Advising people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Following the school’s routine cleaning and disinfection program. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19. Our schools will follow standard procedures for cleaning and disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant with a claim for human coronaviruses. Disinfecting is the responsibility of school custodial staff. They are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills. In addition to regular cleaning, BPS is giving extra attention to ‘high touch’ surfaces. In addition, we will soon have hydrostatic disinfectant machines available for use to allow for more expedient daily disinfecting of our facilities.
In an effort to be proactive and prepared in the event the need arises, district leadership is considering possible temporary alternative approaches to allow students to fulfill their educational requirements. The MA Department of Education continues to require 180 days of school but we are also exploring options.
We are aware that students of all ages can experience anxiety during a time of uncertainty. Please take this opportunity to talk to your children about their concerns regarding the COVID19. Below are some additional resources to aid you in those discussions.
Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Bourne Public Schools