Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause symptoms of colds. However, this is a “novel” virus (has not been seen before), originating in China in late 2019. Until recently, this particular strain of coronavirus circulated among animals only. Now it appears to have spread to humans, and can be spread between humans. The abbreviated term for this virus is: COVID-19
- Symptoms most commonly include: fever with cough or shortness of breath; Some people have fewer or no symptoms at all. Headache, sore throat, and runny nose also occur with this virus.
- Spread is most likely from droplets (cough and sneezing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health threat, but with health risk from this virus to be low at this time.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days, or as long as 14 days, after exposure.
- Most people with this infection will recover on their own. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus infection yet.
- For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care.
General Guidelines for Schools
- All children and staff members with fever greater than 100.4 F should remain home from school and other activities until they had no fever for 24 hours, without fever medication.
- A student who has been to any part of China within the past two weeks should be excluded from school only if that student has a sign of a respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or recent travel, including to any part of China.
- If a student or staff member who has been to China within the past 14 days presents at school with fever and symptoms of either cough or shortness of breath, then a site nurse or health technician will:
- Until the person leaves school, place a surgical mask on that student or staff member if it is tolerated. If possible, keep that person isolated (students must still be visible and supervised by a staff member); otherwise try to keep a 3 foot or more distance between student and others.
- Contact student’s parent/guardian and advise them to visit their doctor immediately.
- It's suggested that any disease notification letters sent from school to the general school community and to schools' parent community be done in consultation with the Public Health Department.