Precuationary Travel Rules Announced for Wicomico County Public Schools
Due to concerns about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hanlin has announced new travel rules for Wicomico County Public Schools:
• Students and/or staff will still be able to travel to events in Maryland or close, neighboring communities on Delmarva, but other out-of-state trips are canceled at this time. This is in keeping with the precautionary travel restrictions put in place by the State of Maryland and advised by the Maryland State Department of Education for all Maryland school systems, yet recognizes the importance of permitting travel to Delaware locations that are in close proximity to Wicomico.
· • Although field trips and athletic team travel in state and to close, neighboring communities on Delmarva will continue at this time, in some cases a trip may be canceled when the event organizer postpones or cancels the event. Trips will be evaluated as needed on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the Wicomico County Health Department.
· There are no school system-supported international trips scheduled in Wicomico County Public Schools. Families planning an international trip should familiarize themselves with travel information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the list of high-risk countries and post-travel procedures, including a 14-day self-quarantine for some travelers. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
“Wicomico County Public Schools is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff,” Dr. Hanlin said. “We want to keep our students, staff and families healthy, and restricting most out-of-state travel right now makes good public health sense.”
Dr. Hanlin and school system staff are in frequent communication with the Wicomico County Health Department, Wicomico County Department of Emergency Services, Maryland State Department of Education and other school systems to review and respond to this global pandemic. The local, state and federal guidance thus far has been that there appears to be a low health risk for schools, and schools should remain open as normal, with frequent reminders about proper hand washing and hygiene and standard daily cleaning.
For protection from and to prevent the spread of coronavirus, influenza and other respiratory illnesses, Maryland Department of Health officials recommend:
-Washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
-Using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
-Avoiding the touching of your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
-Directing sneezes or coughs into a tissue, discarding the tissue, then washing or sanitizing hands thoroughly.
-Staying home when sick.
-Regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Wicomico Schools is prepared to implement further public health recommendations as required. Updated information will be shared with the school community and posted on our webpage (www.wcboe.org) as it becomes available.
Responses to Frequently Asked Questions...
We have received a number of inquiries from parents, students and staff members regarding school procedures in connection with the novel coronavirus.
· PERSONAL SANITATION AND HYGIENE. Schools have supplies on hand for hygiene and sanitation and will continue the normal daily routine of cleaning schools. Parents may choose to have their student bring personal use items such as hand sanitizer, hand soap, and wipes.
· STUDENT ATTENDANCE. While all of us are concerned about this serious public health issue, instruction continues to take place in schools and healthy students are expected to be in attendance. However, Wicomico County Public Schools will be flexible with the updated attendance procedures under the current circumstances. Make-up work for absent students will be handled through existing procedures. Parents who have attendance questions should contact the school office.
· ONLINE INSTRUCTION. While many colleges and universities have been able to quickly shift instruction to online learning, many of our students do not have internet access at home. In Wicomico Schools, close to 60 percent of students qualify for Free or Reduced Meals due to limited family income and this must be taken into consideration for any academic plans moving forward.
· QUESTIONS ABOUT SCHOOL PROCEDURES. Parents, students and school-based staff should direct questions about school procedures to the school office. Schools will respond to questions either directly or in regular mass communications to school families and staff.
- Maryland Department of Health COVID-19 page: https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx
- Gov. Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 Updates: https://governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/
Dear Wicomico County Public School Families,
Maintaining a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment is always priority number one for Wicomico County Public Schools.
System leadership, the Department of Student and Family Services, and school nurses are collaborating with and continuing to take guidance from the Wicomico County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health regarding the latest national and international news regarding a new virus known as COVID-19.
As noted by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet released guidance specifically for Prek-12 school settings. Staff members and families seeking general information about the coronavirus can visit the Maryland Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the most current information.
As of March 10th there have been 9 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Maryland, however none in Wicomico County.
WCPS continues to promote and implement strategies designed to reduce disease transmission while students are at school. Our custodial team pays daily attention to common touchpoints, works to see that soap and paper towel dispensers are stocked, and communicates regularly with vendors to make sure they are adhering to proper disinfection protocols.
Since we currently are in the middle of flu season, the Maryland Department of Health recommends these steps to prevent the further spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses, some of which could be confused with symptoms of the coronavirus:
- Get a flu vaccine.
- Practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Take flu antivirals if prescribed by your healthcare provider if you have the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
We ask that families continue to follow standard illness guidelines provided annually to parents. If your child is not well, please do not send them to school. A child who has had a feve should not return to school until the child has been fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
As we receive additional guidance, we will the updates with families and staff members. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as all of us deal with the public health concern created by the spread of the coronavirus.
WCPS Coronavirus COVID-19 Update and Preparations
1) What is Wicomico County Public Schools doing to address the recent concerns regarding COVID-19
Wicomico County Public Schools (WCPS) is closely monitoring the health crisis in China and globally associated with the coronavirus infections (COVID-19), as well as any impact it may have locally. Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 infection in Wicomico County, nor on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. The Wicomico County Health Department has provided an updated memo about COVID-19 for the community. The most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak can also be found on the CDC website.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, WCPS will continue to work with the WCHD to implement public health recommendations and share updated information with the community, as it becomes available.
2) Is my child at risk? What can I do to keep my child safe at school?
The risk of COVID-19 infection for students and for the U.S. population in general is considered by the CDC to be low.
During the winter season, many other viruses that cause respiratory illness, such as flu, are common. Precautions that are recommended for avoiding colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses include good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene: covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick. If you have any concerns in our schools, you can call our Health Services Coordinator Kathy Frisch at 410-677-4412
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 that are answered by the Maryland Department of Health.