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Message From the Superintendent: Coronavirus Update

February 3rd, 2020

The following update was sent to HCPSS staff, parents and community by Superintendent Michael Martirano:

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding our efforts to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. We have received questions and concerns related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Some of these concerns have been heightened due to the increase in cases of flu and other flu-like illnesses.

Flu activity typically peaks during this time and HCPSS takes great care to ensure that all school and office buildings are cleaned effectively, and staff encourage children to wash hands regularly to prevent the spread of illness. In addition, HCPSS guidance for staff and students continues to be that they should stay home if they are sick. In addition, children and adults should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil). This reduces the number of people who may get infected.

We continue to stay in touch with our local and state health agencies to ensure that we share timely, accurate information with the community and support our students and staff. This morning, Monday, February 3, 2020, HCPSS staff met with officials from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Howard County Health Department (HCHD) and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to receive any updates and guidance related to the coronavirus. At this time, there is neither a mandatory quarantine for travelers returning from China nor a recommendation for travelers who are not experiencing symptoms. However, there is a recommendation for travelers returning from China who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms to remain home and follow up with their primary care provider and HCHD. Last week, HCPSS provided Health Guidelines to Help Prevent and Limit the Spread of Flu and Flu-Like Illnesses and I encourage you to review these guidelines.

Please access the most updated information related to Coronavirus on the Howard County Health Department’s website. HCPSS will continue to be in touch with officials from HCHD, MDH, and MSDE to inform our families and respond, should their guidance change.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s health, please contact your school nurse or your primary care provider.