Wake County Schools provides coronavirus Update (March 10th)
DISTRICT UPDATE TO COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) - MARCH 10, 2020
March 10, 2020
Updated March 12, 2020
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus.) This will have several immediate effects on our school district.
First, it is important to note state officials have specifically recommended that schools NOT be closed. This recommendation reflects the current guidance that children are at low risk of serious illness. County health officials have repeated that guidance following decisions by area colleges and universities to cancel in-person classes.
Please know that we are in constant contact with local and state health officials, receiving updates and recommendations. We will update parents anytime we have important new information to provide.
In response to guidance from the Governor and health officials:
Field trips - Effective March 10th, we are canceling all field trips and employee-related travel, including the First in Fitness Competition. This does not include “in-house” field trips, which do not require students to leave school. Students who are enrolled in courses that require off campus activities as part of the course work (internships, Peer, PEPI, vocational training) are to continue with their off site course work, as scheduled. Off-campus work required for course completion is not considered a field trip. Please check with your principal if you have specific questions regarding a field trip involving your school.
School, athletic, and district events - As of March 12, due to the threat from COVID-19, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended interscholastic athletics beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 through Monday, April 6, 2020. We are following the same guidelines for middle school athletics and suspending all workouts, skill development, practices and contests. This weekend’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball State Championships also have been postponed. The NCHSAA Board of Directors will assess this situation regularly over the next few weeks, and we will provide updates to WCPSS staff and parents as warrant
Absences - Under school board policy, principals have discretion on how to handle student absences. Please check with your principal regarding your particular situation.
Hand washing - We will continue to provide students frequent opportunities to wash their hands, including immediately before lunch.
Emotional support for students
All the news about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can be concerning for parents and students. Here are some tips to help address your child’s social and emotional needs:
- Create time to listen to and talk with your child. Be honest with young people and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to process.
- Reassure children that adults at home and school are working to take care of their health and safety. If they have concerns, they should talk to an adult they trust.
- Remind children that most people will not get (COVID-19) coronavirus. School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
- Try and keep routines as normal as possible.
- Limit the amount of exposure to television and social media regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
- It is important that all students and staff treat everyone with respect and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
If your child seems distressed about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please reach out to your school counselor, psychologist, or social worker for support.
Additional resources to provide emotional support to children:
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Talking to Children About Coronavirus (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
Students or staff who may have been exposed
Health officials assure us that a member of the Wake County Public Health Division will notify someone if they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
If you believe you or an immediate family member may have been exposed to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please call your local health department. In Wake County, you can call 919-856-7044.
State and federal law prohibits the school system from sharing confidential information about students and employees. While we understand that parents may have concerns, they do not have the legal right to know information about a student or staff member’s country of origin, health status, places traveled or family members.
Precautions to prevent the spread of germs
County and State health officials have assured us that we should maintain our regular, routine cleaning procedures in our schools.
The CDC and NC Department of Health and Human Services emphasize the importance of good hygiene practices and maintaining normal cleaning routines to fight germs and prevent the spread of illnesses like:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Keeping your child home if they have had a fever, used fever-reducing medication, or experienced symptoms of illness within the past 24 hours
The Wake County Public Health Division and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus). People should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Please know that if your student comes to school wearing a facemask, school staff are not responsible for ensuring the student continues to wear it or wears it properly.
Every school has a cleaning plan in place to provide regular and routine cleaning with an approved product throughout the school day, including high contact areas like door knobs and classrooms. We have custodial staff on site cleaning throughout the day.
We are prepared to provide additional cleaning to our schools, buses, and facilities if we are notified that someone in our school system tests positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19 or if health officials recommend it.
Health department resources
If you have further questions or concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can view the following websites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- NC Department of Health and Human Services
- Wake County Public Health Division
Thank you for your continued support of our schools.