Northeastern Oklahoma Schools Prepare For Coronavirus


Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 10:58 pm
By: News On 6


Even though no one has tested positive for the Coronavirus in Oklahoma, school districts all over the state are making plans to keep students as healthy as possible.

They are also explaining those plans to parents if COVID-19 shows up in Oklahoma.

Sapulpa, Union, Jenks, Tulsa and Owasso Public Schools are five districts out of many across the state giving parents and students basic guidelines for virus prevention - and explaining their plan if COVID-19 comes to Oklahoma.

All five districts said they are staying up to date with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each district reminds parents and students of basic things they can do to prevent the spread of viruses. Those include things you probably are already doing to prevent getting a cold or the flu - like washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, covering your mouth when you cough and disinfecting surfaces you touch the most.

Spring break is coming up. Make sure you are checking travel advisories before you leave and follow any CDC guidelines you might have, once you come back. You can read more here.

The following is a series of press releases and letters to parents sent from schools around the Tulsa area.

Tulsa Public Schools:

Student health and safety remains a priority for Tulsa Public Schools and we are carefully monitoring the full scope of the coronavirus. There is not a day that goes by at Tulsa Public Schools that we do not evaluate our practices and work to improve the ways that we keep our students and teachers safe, healthy, and secure. We are actively working with the Tulsa Department of Public Health and Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency to stay updated on the status and spread of the coronavirus.

We are still taking this potential health issue seriously; we are continuing to monitor schools for outbreaks and regularly disinfecting schools during and after school hours. In the event of respiratory or gastrointestinal outbreaks, our school nurses and school leaders would follow the protocols we have in place to track illnesses, notify health department officials, disinfect schools, and keep staff and parents updated.

Sapulpa Public Schools:

Sapulpa Public Schools administration has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. closely, and while the risk of exposure is low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussions have been ongoing among district personnel and health officials regarding the well-being of our students and staff.

Despite the low risk level here in Oklahoma, we have been reviewing our cleaning and disinfecting processes as well as the supplies we use to maintain healthy school environments. As a first step, our custodial staff has already begun prioritizing cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are handled frequently during the day. Additionally, we will continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines set forth by the county and state health departments and adjust our practices accordingly.

In the meantime, we remain in the cold and influenza season. We encourage everyone to exercise everyday preventive actions, as recommended by the CDC, to help avoid the spread of respiratory diseases.

  • Wash hands frequently
  •  with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching eyes,
  •  mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact
  •  with individuals who are sick.
  • Stay home when you
  •  are sick. The CDC recommends that individuals remain home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (i.e. chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance).
  • Cover your cough
  •  or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect
  •  frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Take any anti-viral
  •  medication prescribed to you as instructed.

Earlier this school year, high school students participated in Digital Learning Days in which they completed assignments remotely. We are reviewing what we learned from those days so we can apply best practices to our remaining schools should the need arise. Our goal is to have a plan in place that gives parents, students, and staff adequate time to prepare in the event that we need to institute Digital Learning Days district-wide.

We appreciate your efforts in helping us maintain a healthy school environment. 

Owasso Public Schools:

Parents and Guardians,

Over the past few weeks, information and discussions regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have understandably created a feeling of uneasiness with many families in our district. I am writing to you today to communicate the steps that we are taking in our schools to help keep our students and educators safe during this flu season, which has the added challenge of COVID-19.

First, it is important for you to know that our district leaders and team of healthcare professionals are in contact with local, state and federal health agencies, including but not limited to the Tulsa Health Department and Oklahoma State Department of Health, to remain as up-to-date as possible on the evolving situation concerning the coronavirus.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, however, it is important that we are mindful of the situation and be as prepared as possible. With that in mind, we encourage the students, educators and families in our district to follow these best practices:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve/arm, not your hand.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If children are feeling sick, do not send them to school. Allow for proper time to rest and recover to help prevent infecting other students.

Per district policy, students who have had a fever of 100 or greater, diarrhea or vomiting must be symptom free for 24 hours, without the use of symptom reducing medication, prior to returning to school.

Our District Services staff has been regularly disinfecting our buildings and classrooms and we have hand sanitizer readily available at all schools, as well. We will continue to work with the State Department of Education and health agencies in the event that COVID-19 has a more direct impact on Oklahoma and our community.

If you would like more information from the Tulsa Health Department and CDC regarding the coronavirus, please see these helpful links below:

Tulsa Health Department - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CDC - Coronavirus Prevention & Treatment

CDC - Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us at the Education Service Center via phone 918-272-5367.

Sincerely,

Amy Fichtner, Ed.D.

Jenks Public Schools:

JPS Parents and Guardians,

The health and safety of our students is always the top priority at Jenks Public Schools. With growing concerns about the potential spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Jenks Public Schools is continually monitoring reports from local, state, and national health agencies to stay up to date with the very latest information. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state of Oklahoma. From a clinical standpoint, there is no reason to be alarmed, yet we completely understand why people may have concerns and inquire about plans the District has in place.

Several years ago, JPS developed a comprehensive Disease Response Plan. This plan has been thoroughly reviewed and updated to incorporate the latest guidance from various sources including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Tulsa County Health Department. District leaders and School Emergency Response Team (SERT) members will implement specific steps within the plan should it be deemed necessary by these organizations.

If you plan to travel inside the United States during Spring Break, there are currently no domestic travel advisories. If you plan to travel outside the country, please check the list of travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State.

New entry and exit control measures and even quarantines may be implemented by many countries – including the United States - with very little notice during the coming weeks. These actions could severely impact your plans or delay your trip home. Please take a few moments to check the travel advisories associated with your international destination.

To help prevent the spread of germs in our schools, the CDC recommends the following measures:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing from people who are sick. Maintain a reasonable distance (5 feet is recommended) and restrict physical contact such as handshakes and hugs.
  • Keep children home when they are sick. The CDC recommends individuals remain home for at least 24 hours after last recorded fever or signs of a fever (i.e., chills, aches, feeling warm, flushed appearance). Keeping children home when they are sick is critical to prevention.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or cover cough or sneeze with your elbow. Do not cough or sneeze into your hand or into the air.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces.
  • Take any medication prescribed to you as instructed.

For more information on the Coronavirus, please click the links below.

Tulsa Health Department – About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Oklahoma State Department of Health – Information Regarding Travel, Spread of Coronavirus, Frequently Asked Questions, and More

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Preventative Measures for Coronavirus

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and we will provide updates as needed.

Thank you,

Dr. Stacey Butterfield
Superintendent, Jenks Public Schools

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