QPS Health Advisory, March 11

QPS COVID-19 Advisory, March 11
Posted on 03/11/2020

March 11, 2020

 

Dear Quincy Public Schools Staff, Parents, and Guardians,

This afternoon, we learned that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum has been closed as a precaution as two employees recently attended a conference with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  On March 2, Grade 5 students from the Montclair Elementary School,  accompanied by several staff members, went on a field trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.  After consultation with Mayor Thomas Koch, City of Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, it has been determined that as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum employees are not symptomatic, Montclair students and staff are not subject to self quarantine recommendations and may continue to attend school.  Tonight, the Montclair Elementary School will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by a cleaning crew using the E23 machines that disinfect surfaces of all pathogens.  The Montclair Elementary School will be open for a regular school day on Thursday.

Please know that we are continuing to monitor the communications from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in order to share information and develop and implement plans to keep the community as safe as possible.  With this guidance in place, the Superintendent’s Leadership and Principals Teams will continue to collaborate with Mayor Koch, the Quincy School Committee, and Health  Commissioner Ruth Jones to respond appropriately as the situation evolves.  Any changes in procedures will be shared as soon as the information is available. 

Areas of focus for the management of COVID-19 include:

Cleaning and Classroom Maintenance  Our custodial staff are committed to ensuring that all our facilities are cleaned and disinfected daily, including weekends when buildings may be in use by the community. Through collaboration with our principals and nurses, priority areas have been identified as high usage, such as bathrooms, the cafeteria and gymnasium, and all “frequent touch” items such as doorknobs, railings, lockers, tables, desks, etc.  These cleaning routines help control the spread of  many  pathogens, including COVID-19. The custodial staff has sufficient supplies necessary to ensure that we are able to meet any cleaning and disinfection needs that may develop.  In addition, our school buses are being thoroughly cleaned each week using approved disinfectant products.   We will continue to evaluate and adjust our strategies as necessary to meet the needs of the school community.

Healthy Behaviors   We are directing all students to practice regular handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds each time as the best way to control the spread of infection. Students are provided frequent opportunities to wash their hands throughout the day, especially before and after eating  breakfast, snacks, and lunch.  As always, students who are unwell, with symptoms of a cold, a fever, or virus, should stay home until the symptoms have abated.  Please contact your school nurse as a resource for your student’s health concerns, as well as contacting your family health care provider.

Cancellations and Closures  We will continue to collaborate with Mayor Koch, the Quincy School  Committee, the Quincy Health Department, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and  Secondary Education to evaluate risks to the school community and to make thoughtful decisions about any significant changes to our regular routines.   We have already made several decisions that we believe will help keep students, families, and staff safe, including cancelling all international and out of state school trips; other local field trips are under review on an individual basis.  As of today, extracurricular and family engagement activities, including athletics, will continue as  scheduled. 

In the event of an extended school closure, the Superintendent’s Leadership and Principal Teams will follow guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary  Education, in collaborating with teachers to  provide academic opportunities for students through alternate means.  Additional information on this will be shared as necessary. 

Travel Outside the USA  All families returning from travel outside of the United States must contact their school Principal prior to students returning to school.  Families returning from high-risk areas (as defined by the CDC) should also contact the City of Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones at 617-376-1272 for further guidance. 

Communication  Quincy Public Schools will continue to share information on a regular basis  as this situation evolves.   There is a dedicated page with links to COVID-19 resources on the Quincy Public Schools website at www.quincypublicschools.com.   Check this site frequently as new content is posted as it becomes available.

Finally, please be assured that all of us at Quincy Public Schools are aware of the stress on families created by the uncertainty of this situation.  Your patience and thoughtfulness towards each other as we negotiate the duration of the COVID-19 issue in the community is greatly appreciated.   If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 617-984-8701, Health Services Coordinator Rita Bailey at 617-984-8899, or the Quincy Health Department Commissioner Ruth Jones at 617-376-1272.

Sincerely,

Richard DeCristofaro, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools