On February 27th, LSR7 emailed families about district planning and response to the novel coronavirus pandemic should it reach Lee's Summit. First, know the symptoms. Second, prevent the spread. Third, plan now for the schools to close. Finally, keep track of outbreaks around the world and in the USA.
Do you know the symptoms of novel
Do you know how to prevent the spread of the virus?
Be prepared for schools to be closed should the pandemic reach Lee's Summit as LSR7 makes plans to close school buildings and pursues options for tele-school.
Where is the virus now? The Missouri Department of Health is tracking the spread here:
The message from LSR7 follows.
Dear LSR7 Families:
Keeping students and staff healthy is a top priority for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, and the district has policies, procedures and guidelines in place to prevent the spread of illnesses and viruses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update on February 25 has provided school districts and communities guidance regarding preparation for the novel coronavirus.
Novel coronavirus is a virus strain that has spread in people since December 2019 and has caused severe illness and pneumonia. Symptoms are similar to the flu - cough, fever, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or health.mo.gov/coronavirus.
While there are no reported cases of coronavirus in Missouri at this time, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and reviewing information from the Jackson County Health Department, the Missouri Department of Health and the CDC.
We also took steps to address this rapidly-changing situation by having conversations this week about any additional proactive and preventative approaches we can take as we progress through the cold and flu season.
The district has taken or will take the following steps to ensure student and staff health:
The district will continue to communicate closely with county health professionals.
*District nurses will continue to monitor and track student illnesses, and review CDC and state health department guidance.
*The district will continue to use both routine cleaning methods and specialized decontamination equipment to provide extra disinfection efforts in classrooms and school buildings that have reported an uptick in illnesses.
*R-7 Health Services staff members have attended training sessions regarding the possibility of a pandemic flu virus, and the district’s Emergency Operations Team has also received pandemic-flu information.
*To ensure its proactive approach, the district is evaluating its own current crisis and emergency procedures related to health and illness in collaboration with health department and law enforcement partners.
*The district is continuing to explore virtual school (tele-school) options for a scenario in which the health department recommends school cancellations.
*The district will reinforce best practices to prevent the spread of flu, influenza and other viruses to staff and students. The number one way to stop the spread of illness remains to stay home if you are displaying any symptoms.
Respiratory viruses are transmitted from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when a person touches something that has the flu virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, eyes or nose. While most of the population is at a greater risk of contracting seasonal influenza than coronavirus, it is essential that we partner to prevent the spread of all illnesses by embracing the following practices:
*Staying home if you are sick with the flu or are presenting symptoms of the flu to prevent spreading it to others at school and in the workplace. If you believe you or your children are becoming ill with influenza-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue), contact your local healthcare provider.
*Practicing frequent hand washing using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You may also use hand sanitizer when it is difficult to wash your hands.
*Avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes because the virus can spread when your hands touch surfaces infested with germs.
*Remembering to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. If a tissue is not available, sneezing or coughing into the upper portion of your shirt sleeve and avoid sneezing or coughing into your hands (which are more likely to touch surfaces and other people and spread the disease).
*Not sharing drinks, water bottles, eating utensils or cell phones with others.
*Practicing “social distancing,” especially in the case of a pandemic. Stand at least three feet away from others if you or the other person is infected with the flu.
*Ensuring that children and adults are fever-free for 24 hours without medication before returning to work or school.
*If possible, getting a flu shot. How do you tell the difference between the common cold and the flu? If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and a hacking cough, you probably have a cold. If you have a high fever, extreme tiredness, a dry cough and severe headache, muscle and body aches, you probably have the flu.
Be assured that district staff take health concerns seriously and will be monitoring illness in schools, and that we will share additional information or guidance we receive from county, state and federal health professionals.
If we all work together and follow these important guidelines, we can keep our students, staff and community healthy.
Executive Director of Public Relations
For more information about novel coronavirus, symptoms, and what to do if you have the virus, follow these links to the CDC website.