Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Students,
Norwich Public Schools is dedicated to taking the necessary precautions to protect the school community from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). District administration has been receiving regular updates from the State Department of Education, CT Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CT Association of School Superintendents (CAPSS) and through local collaborations with leaders from UNCAS Health District and the City of Norwich.
At this time, all Norwich Public Schools and district offices will remain open, in regular session, for students and staff.
Special care and attention are being paid to the cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of all school and district facilities. Custodial staff will continue to clean surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, keyboards, desks and handrails. Industry-standard protocols will continue to be followed; non-porous surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected, porous surfaces will be cleaned, and bathrooms will be wet cleaned and disinfected. Shared supplies such as baskets of markers and physical education equipment are also being cleaned regularly. Additional hand soap and sanitizer are available. The District will utilize CDC-recommended cleaning products that are labeled as hospital grade disinfectants. Furthermore, our bus company has also increased their cleaning methodologies.
Specifically, in an effort to ensure that we are taking every precaution to ensure a heightened level of safety and cleanliness in the district, effective immediately through April 30, out of an abundance of caution:
- Activities and events planned for groups of more than 100 people are cancelled. On a case by case basis smaller events may also be canceled. You will be notified in the typical communication manner.
- The district professional development day for teachers scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled and teachers are asked to stay home so that custodial crews can “super clean” our school buildings for when children and staff return Monday.
- Buses are being cleaned in between bus runs and “super cleaned” at night and on weekends.
- Our custodians are turning off water fountains but keeping open water bottle refilling stations. Parents are encouraged to send children in to school on Monday with a full water bottle. There will be cups available if students forget their water bottle at home.
- In an effort to limit the number of non-staff adults coming in and out of our schools each day, parent and outside provider meetings will largely be via telephone. Parent drop off and pick up will be at the door of the school rather than having adults enter the school to sign in or sign out.
- This is an overall strategy, please consult with your child’s school if you would like more specific details on how this applies to you.
- In an effort to ensure that lunch services are run as hygienically as possible, principals have been given the authority to flex lunches and lunch locations to permit additional cleaning and less students per area.
- We are canceling most building use events for community groups using our schools in the evenings and weekends.
If, at some point in the future, there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school district here is the plan for closure:
- We have determined that our district would not be eligible to ask for a distance learning waiver from the CT Department of Education. If schools need to be closed, we will be required to make up those days.
- Should there be a need to close schools (due to a confirmed case of COVID-19), the affected school or all schools and district buildings will likely be closed for up to a two-week duration. Please begin to prepare alternative accommodations (child care) for your child in the event that a closure is warranted. Parents and staff will be informed about the need for a school closing through our regular communication methods. In addition, the district will keep the school community apprised of updates through regular communications, as the situation may change.
- Should the district need to close, the days missed will be made up between June 19-30, 2020 as well as April 13-17, 2020 (April break).
You should continue to practice and remind others of the importance of using everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue in a lined trash container.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, a list of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved products is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Products. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
- Get an annual flu shot…and future vaccines that are developed to fight new communicable illnesses.
As a reminder of our typical protocol, students and staff should not attend school with the following symptoms of common illness or disease:
- Temperature of 100 degrees or greater. Individuals should be fever-free without use of a fever-reducing medication for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to school.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea. Individuals should remain at home until they have stopped vomiting for at least 24 hours and are able to tolerate fluids and solid foods.
- Sore throat that is accompanied by fatigue, body aches, and fever.
- A persistent/disruptive cough lasting for more than a few days or with fever.
- Eye discomfort with itching, redness, pain, and drainage.
- Skin rash suggestive of a communicable disease. We ask that any blisters or open sores be healed before returning to school
- We request a note if a student has seen a physician and been absent due to a communicable disease.
- Flu like symptoms (cough, fever and shortness of breath)
Please Communicate Health Concerns:
- If staff or students are experiencing illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please stay home and communicate these symptoms to your doctor/pediatrician and to the school nurse.
- If staff or students/families are traveling out of the state or country over the next 7 weeks, please communicate this information to respective school leaders.
For more information regarding COVID-19, please click on the following links:
For questions about COVID-19 please call or email Uncas Health @email@example.com (860) 823-1189.
Go to norwichpublicschools.org/coronavirus for some useful printable resources for families and staff to use regarding educating students, modeling healthy habits, and facts about COVID-19. They are under the “Printable Resources” section. We are hopeful that our school community is not affected by this illness. Thank you for your understanding and partnership as we work together through this challenge!
Kristen E. Stringfellow, Ed. D.