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Letter from the Superintendent: Coronavirus Update March 6, 2020

March 6, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

For the past several weeks, our school district, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local health agencies have been closely monitoring the impact and spread of the Coronavirus and its related illness, COVID-19.  The primary guidance of these major state and health organizations is to remain vigilant in our efforts to limit and contain the spread of this illness.  At this time, there are no reported cases in Kodiak, nor in the state of Alaska.

It is my intent for our district to take a proactive approach in our efforts to respond to the risk of Coronavirus reaching our community and schools.  Students as well as staff receive several reminders daily to engage in thorough handwashing, and posters demonstrating proper handwashing steps have been posted in every bathroom around the district.  Teachers have been directed to increase social distance between students in classrooms, and cleaning staff have been instructed to increase their sanitization process each day.

As another measure of preparedness, administrators, teachers and staff are actively preparing contingency plans, including a plan for delivering distance learning to students in the event of a school closure.  In order to provide training for staff in the event that we must move to a distance learning program, the district will be having early release on Wednesday, March 11th and Thursday, March 12th.  We realize that this may be an inconvenience for our families, but we believe that the rapid developments related to COVID-19 evidence the need for preparation.  We certainly hope that this is not the case. 

Questions have been asked as to what might cause a school closure to take place.  Please note that any decision to close schools would be made in conjunction with Dr. Anne Zink, the State’s Chief Medical Officer, and local health officials.  Should the State’s recommendation indicate that closure becomes necessary, the School District will strive to release timely information, and maintain communication, via our website, Facebook, One Call, and direct email.

We ask that our families engage in the preparedness and prevention efforts alongside our staff.  Please take the time to review and practice proper handwashing and flu hygiene with your student.  Teach the importance of covering both mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, either by using their arm or a tissue.  Wherever possible, consider limiting non-essential group activities and activities that require the use of shared objects, and regularly clean objects that have had multiple person-to-person contact. 

If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, please keep them home from school:

  • Fever: Oral temperature at or above 100.4 F - If your child has a fever, please do not send him/ her back to school until he/she has been fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours. This is very important in controlling the spread of flu and flu-like viral illnesses.
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe Cough
  • Rash of unknown origin

As the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus and COVID-19 rapidly develop and change in the days and weeks ahead, we encourage you to keep informed.  In addition to our District webpage, which now features a link specific to coronavirus information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides regular, daily updates on this issue, both nationally and globally.  The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services provides information and updates on a regular basis as well.  Links to these and other valuable resources are included below. 

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Novel Coronavirus

Health and Social Services COVID-19 Homepage

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus 2019 Information for Travel

Kodiak Island Borough School District Coronavirus Information

World Health Organization Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s principal, school nurse, or the Superintendent’s Office.  It is our sincere hope that the precautions we are taking will never prove necessary.

 

Sincerely,

 

Larry LeDoux