A message from Executive Director Dr. Theresa A. Craig regarding the Coronavirus

hand washing
Wash your hands

March 9, 2020

 

Hello READS Community,

 

With new information coming in daily, be assured that the administrators at READS are following all guidelines issued for schools regarding effective prevention strategies. We continue to follow the same protocols as we follow for flu and cold season. We ask that students and staff members who are not feeling well, please stay home. Everyone has been asked to take extra measures to clean regularly.  Reminders have been constant that the best preventive measure is to keep washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer when necessary.

 

Staff have been provided with some resources to help students process what they may be seeing in the news.  There is an excellent kid-friendly resource here at:  https://www.brainpop.com/health/diseasesinjuriesandconditions/coronaviru... Additional resources for specific ages are at the bottom of this update.  Acknowledging what is being reported in the news while reassuring children that they are safe may help them to process all of the information that is surrounding them. 

 

As a reminder, residents of Massachusetts continue to be at low risk. Reports indicate that children who are otherwise healthy seem to be at low risk for serious illness.  However, the concern is for elderly or ill family members who may be exposed to the illness when someone in the home becomes ill.

 

It is also important that we continue to create a welcoming environment for all. We are all in this together.  

 

As a reminder to all:

If you don't feel well, stay home.  

Ask questions of the School Nurse or administrators, don't just worry if you have a concern.

Take comfort in our normal operations while being prepared to be flexible if things change.

Know that the risk in Massachusetts is still very low and that only a very small portion of people are at risk of serious illness if they do get sick.

Registered Nurse Barbara Doucette, School Nurse at READS Academy, has been in regular contact with the local Board of Health and was informed on Thursday that we are ‘right on track’ for prevention and planning. We participated in a conference call with the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health on Friday.  I have been in regular communication with the Superintendent’s Association and today conversed with other Collaborative Executive Directors. Again we are taking all of the proper steps at this time. Earlier today Mrs. Doucette joined the Health and Homeland Alert Network Listserv.  Together, Mrs. Doucette and I are developing a draft preparation plan based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This plan will be reviewed by Program Directors and then by the READS Board of Directors on Thursday.  The plan incorporates elements of many of the Emergency Response plans we already have in place. It will become available as part of our overall Emergency Response Plan.

 

To fulfill one of the steps in our draft plan, on Friday, families of READS Academy students received a test email/text/voice message system that may be used if the Academy public day locations in Middleborough unexpectedly dismiss early at any point.  All READS students and staff in host public schools of Norton, West Bridgewater and Bristol-Plymouth will follow school processes and protocols if their school is dismissed early. If additional steps are needed we will share those as well.

 

In addition the following steps have been taken and are reflected in the draft plan:

Wipes have been ordered for each classroom (and delivered in most cases)..

Hand sanitizer has been refilled in Academy locations and the administration building.

Cleaning companies are taking additional measures to clean classrooms according to guidance from the Department of Public Health.

 

We can all work together to continue effective preventive measures:

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water - sing happy birthday two times to be most effective.

Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or use your elbow - not your hands.

Avoid shaking hands - use elbow bumps or thumbs up.

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible. 

Allow your child to stay home if they are sick and stay home yourself if sick.  The Commissioner of Education is reviewing attendance concerns and will provide guidance if needed.

 

During this time when we are challenged by uncertainty, we can contribute to the common good by continuing our daily routines with added prevention and precautions. Thank you for your diligence in following effective prevention steps.  We will continue to provide updates as guidance is issued. Scroll down for additional resources for students and links to CDC and DPH. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Theresa A. Craig        

Executive Director                

How to Talk with Kids

Please read this page first.  At the bottom, you'll see guidelines for age appropriate discussions:

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podc...(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource

 

Open Circle also provides guidance in speaking to kids:

https://www.open-circle.org/what-s-new/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-coronav...

 

Materials and Resources

For the youngest kids, primarily focusing on self- care and good habits through handwashing.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=qJG72sycQB8&feature=emb...

 

The handwashing of course could continue through all ages.  The CDC has multiple videos to choose from: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/videos.html

 

Older students can benefit from more factual information.  Please preview any information that you may find before use with students to ensure it is age appropriate.  

 

This is a visual from NPR and WGBH you may use with older elementary and higher: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-...

 

A Brainpop video for older elementary and older that does a nice job of covering, facts, anxiety and self care:

https://www.brainpop.com/health/diseasesinjuriesandconditions/coronavirus/

 

For middle and high school on the history and facts of the virus from the World Health Organization:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=mOV1aBVYKGA&feature=emb...


 

Below are the links to MA DPH and CDC guidelines :

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus...