Coronavirus Information Update, March 2, 7:30 a.m.
FWPS continues to share updates, encourage prevention efforts and prepare if a Coronavirus outbreak occurs.
On Feb. 3, 2020, Feb. 28, 2020 and today, March 2, 2020, we proactively communicated facts and resource information with FWPS staff and families. On Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, FWPS was one of the lead presenters during Federal Way Emergency Management Division’s community presentation about novel coronavirus. FWPS shared its prevention, education, and communication efforts.
King County has confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Currently, there are no reported coronavirus cases related to FWPS.
However, FWPS’ has a team ready to respond according to our emergency preparedness plan.
FWPS is taking the following precautionary and proactive steps in this situation by:
• Participating in meetings and weekly briefings with the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) and Public Health–Seattle & King County and following guidance from these agencies and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
• Informing school nurses and school leadership staff of the specific action steps to take if there is a student, staff member, or volunteer suspected to be at risk for COVID-19.
• Encouraging our staff, students and parents to follow general prevention methods such as handwashing, covering cough and staying home if ill.
• Using a specific cleaning agent for high touch point surfaces (i.e. countertops, doorknobs, light switches, etc.) known to kill human coronavirus, and is recognized as an effective cleaning agent by WSDOH. This is in addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
• Keeping staff and families informed as new and relevant information is available.
The Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) is the lead agency that provides guidance to school districts in public health crisis situations. As this situation evolves and if conditions change, FWPS will follow WSDOH’s recommendations regarding appropriate response and decisions related to school operations such as openings and closures.
Please see information below from Public Health – Seattle & King County as of March 1, 10:29 p.m.:
“As you’ve likely heard, over the past three days, we have confirmed multiple local novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and two deaths. Many of these cases are associated with a nursing facility in Kirkland, WA. We know that this news is worrisome to everyone, and we working in close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Washington Department of Health (DOH) to understand the connections between these cases and the implications for our community.
We anticipate that over the coming weeks, we will see an increasing number of people infected locally and across the United States. It’s important to remember that most people who develop COVID-19 infection do not have a serious illness and can recover at home. About 20% have a more serious illness. As is the case with influenza, severe illness is more common in adults over age 60 and in those with underlying chronic medical conditions.
At this time, we are not recommending school closures or cancellation of activities. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will be certain to update you should our recommendations change.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where should I turn for accurate information or to ask specific questions?
Please continue to consult the CDC, DOH, and PHSKC webpages for the most up-to-date information:
• Washington Department of Health (DOH), Coronavirus School Resources and Recommendations
• Public Health – Seattle and King County (PHSKC), Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
For general questions about COVID-19 or Washington State’s response, we encourage families, students, and the public to call the Washington State Call Center at 800-525-0127.
Given the increased number of cases, should our school take any additional precautions?
At this time, schools do not need to take any special precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. We strongly recommend that schools follow standard procedures for cleaning and reinforce the need for students and staff to stay home when sick, wash hands frequently, avoid touching one’s face, and take other preventative steps outlined by DOH.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
Current CDC guidance recommends testing for the following people:
• Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have recent travel (in the past 14 days) to countries with widespread or ongoing community spread.
• Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have been identified by Public Health as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19 infection.
If someone meets the criteria, they should contact their healthcare provider by phone and call the Public Health Communicable Disease team at (206) 296-4774. Public Health is not currently recommending widespread testing for members of the general public. We anticipate testing guidance to change in the near term as more testing comes on-line at commercial laboratories.
Who should self-quarantine?
Self-quarantine means staying at home and away from others and self-monitoring for symptoms, including doing daily temperature checks. Individuals in the following categories should self-quarantine for 14 days:
• Recent travelers of areas to countries with widespread or ongoing community spread.
• Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. For example, Barry’s wife, Shelly, works at a school in your district. Shelly was recently confirmed to have COVID-19. Barry should self-quarantine for 14 days, monitor symptom, and notify his healthcare provider and Public Health if he becomes ill.
Who does not need to self-quarantine?
Contacts of asymptomatic people who have had close contact with a confirmed case do not need to self-quarantine. For example, Joni is a healthcare provider who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case at work. She does not have any respiratory symptoms. Her son, Liam, does not need to self-quarantine and does not need evaluation or testing for COVID-19. However, if Joni becomes sick with COVID-19, Liam will need to self-quarantine.
Will Public Health notify our schools if we have a case?
Yes, if Public Health is aware of a case in a King County school, we will contact key school personnel, such as the school nurse, principal, or district leadership.
How should we talk about coronavirus with our students and other children in our lives?
This situation can raise fear and anxiety for both adults and children. Check out this helpful article and comic strip from NPR, “Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus.”
Where can I find additional resources about stigma and discrimination?
Public Health – Seattle & King County has an anti-stigma toolkit with social media tools, a poster, infographic, and other information to help you prevent, interrupt, and respond to stigma.