Superintendent Runcie: This is Not Just Like the Flu
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According to NPR, nearly 300 million kids around the world are being kept home from school to mitigate the spread of the 2019-nCoV, a new respiratory virus originated in Wuhan, Hubel Province China. Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) continues to monitor and follow guidance from the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Reported illnesses of 2019-nCoV have ranged from infected individuals with little or no symptoms to individuals who are severely ill. Public health officials are unclear as to how 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person.

“This is not just like the flu. It has a greater impact on the elderly. [The coronavirus] is significantly more lethal in terms of the mortality rate. So, I think we need to take this as seriously as we can.”

Superintendent Robert Runcie

Continued Learning While Home Bound

Providing educational continuity is key to the BCPS pandemic plan.

Thousands of students are already enrolled in Broward Virtual University which offers add-on courses and if it is necessary, Superintendent Runcie said that BCPS is prepared to scale up participation “to make sure that there’s some ongoing level of educational support.”

“We’re not there yet, and I hope we don’t get there, but we are planning for every scenario possible,” said Runcie on March 5 after a call with all school superintendents, the governor, state commissioner, and the surgeon general.

Instructional materials will be accessible to all students who are home bound to ensure that learning will continue during this period.

Self-report and Self-isolate Following International Travel

• The Surgeon General has advised those planning to travel outside of the United States, specifically to high risk countries, to self-report and self-isolate. The four high risk countries are China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. To minimize exposure to our schools and District, students and staff who visit these countries are asked to notify their school principal or department leadership about their trip and self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

• During the 14-day isolation period, individuals who develop a respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, should immediately report to the Florida Department of Health-Broward or their health care provider.

International School Field Trips

• Effective immediately, no future international school field trips will be approved until further notice.
• There is currently no restriction on domestic travel.

Preventive Measures

What you can do:

• Wash your hands frequently.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Stay home (or keep your child home) when sick until fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
• Stay informed. Check with your school to ensure your contact information, including email address and phone number, is up to date to receive school and District information.

BCPS continues to:

• Conduct extra cleaning at high frequency contact areas with a germicidal disinfectant, including restrooms, doorknobs and doors, countertops, drinking fountains and sinks.
• Ensure schools and District departments are adequately stocked with hygiene supplies, such as hand sanitizer, soap and towels.
• Place educational posters that reinforce the importance of hand washing and infection control in schools and departments.
• Offer counseling to students who may have anxiety about the coronavirus.

The health and well-being of students, staff and school communities continue to be our focus. Additional information, resources and updates are available on the District’s website at browardschools.com/coronavirus.

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