From Harford County Public Schools:
This evening, the HCPS community will receive a communication about COVID-19, or the coronavirus. If you have not signed up for emails in your parent portal, the following letter was attached. It has also been posted on www.hcps.org.
February 26, 2020
As coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in China and subsequent positive cases in the United States continues, our school system and Harford County Department of Health are fielding an increasing number of questions from anxious parents and residents. Please know that, as we do in all health-related cases, we are working closely together and receiving additional guidance from the Harford County Health Department, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is also important to understand that as of this writing, we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Harford County or in Maryland. This is a rapidly changing situation, and one which we are monitoring closely.
According to the CDC, most people get infected with viruses in the coronavirus family at some point in their lives. The 2019 novel strain at the center of the current issue is a new one and has a more severe impact in terms of respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The CDC is still studying how the virus spreads, though it is thought at this point to be spread much like the flu.
Practicing good hygiene can help to limit the spread of viruses in our schools. The virus may live on surfaces such as desks and doorknobs, so as a safeguard, custodial staff will continue to regularly clean classrooms and common areas.
The current recommended precautions to avoid exposure to the virus are the same precautions you would take to avoid the flu. To keep your family safe:
– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Stay home when you are sick and do not return to work or school until you have been fever- free without the use of fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours.
– Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash; if tissues aren’t available, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 but there is a vaccine for seasonal influenza which is recommended for all persons over the age of 6 months.
We will be continuing our partnerships with public health experts and updating you when new relevant information is available. You may find additional information at:
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Maryland Department of Health https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx
Harford County Health Department: https://harfordcountyhealth.com/coronavirus/
Thank you for your cooperation to keep our children and our schools healthy.
Sean W. Bulson, Ed.D.
Harford County Public Schools