Dear Morgan Hill Unified School District Staff and Community,
This message is an advisory for adjusting District and school activities as methods for preventing, reducing, and slowing the exposure of the COVID-19 virus in our community. This is a top priority for the health and safety of our students and staff.
The County Public Health Department currently is not recommending closing schools. Individuals under 18 years of age have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. If a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Public Health Department will consider, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted.
At the time of this advisory, Public Health shows no known pupils or community members within the MHUSD District boundaries infected with COVID 19. However, we must minimize health risk by taking the possibility of spreading the virus to our community seriously. We will follow the lead of Santa Clara County Public Health.
For Santa Clara County areas OUTSIDE of our District, Public Health reports 24 confirmed individuals in Santa Clara County who have tested positive as of this morning. We emphasize:
● There have been no cases of COVID-19 that affect any of the students or staff in our 14 schools.
● Santa Clara County Public Health, the lead agency in our county with regard to this virus, has assured us that children are considered “low risk” for virus exposure.
● Santa Clara County Public Health is monitoring all suspected/confirmed cases of the virus in our community and will let us know if there is any action to take regarding our schools.
Santa Clara County Public Health advises contacting your doctor if you have been exposed directly to someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, if you have traveled from impacted cities or countries AND have flu-like symptoms including a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
DIRECTIVE FOR ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
The following practices will be in place until April 15 at which time the situation will be reevaluated so the guidance can be adjusted.
● OPEN HOUSES. Open house scheduled dates will continue as currently scheduled. However, the process for Open Houses schedules are modified by:
○ No schools will have parents assemble indoors for introductions, presentations, or performances during open house. The school principal may in some way modify the open house activities to prevent congested visitor traffic in the classrooms and hallways. Possible relief for such congestion may include but are not limited to:
■ creating videos of the classroom activities and student presentations, then sending links to videos to parents in lieu of classroom visits;
■ hold visitation activities outside the classroom on blacktop or other play area space; and/or
■ to relieve in classroom congestion, expand the hours of open house and assigning parents specific times for visiting the classroom spread out through the night.
● SPORTING EVENTS/COMPETITIONS. The Central Coast Section (CCS) of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is not issuing an advisory. However, the following direction is formed to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus through gatherings at sporting events:
○ Outdoor CCS activities and competitions will go on as scheduled with no restrictions
○ Indoor CCS sports events, activities, and competitions will also go on as scheduled and there are no restrictions on attendance for athletes, necessary staff, officials, scorekeepers, and security personnel identified by each team’s athletic director or head coach. The number of spectators may be restricted if the concentration of spectators is found to concentrate attendees in close quarters determined to be less than an arms length from one another as prescribed by public health.
○ Competition facilities for both outdoor and indoor competitions must be kept clean and well stocked with sufficient hand wash stations.
● ASSEMBLIES, PERFORMANCES, DANCES
○ All dances are suspended
○ All Assemblies and performances such as plays or talent shows are suspended unless there is access to hand wash stations and one of the following conditions is met:
■ The activity is moved outdoors
■ The spectators are limited to a number where seating allows them to be present at more than an arm’s length from one another.
● FIELD TRIPS.
○ Out of state and longer distance field trips (more than 30 miles) are suspended until further notice.
○ Local field trips (less than 30 miles) will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-base basis. The school principal will review the trip characteristics with the Assistant Superintendent of Education Services for consideration.
The authorization of currently scheduled field trips will depend on:
■ the venue (place, outdoor v. indoor, nature of the activity)
■ the number of students and the nature of the assembly area
■ the distance from the school
■ the length of time at the venued
○ Science Camp will continue as planned and not restricted at this time.
● FACILITY USE. Community building usage by external organizations with a large number of attendees will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may be suspended. Outdoor facility rental is not affected.
GENERAL DIRECTIVES FOR SCHOOL AND HOME
As much as possible, students and staff should carry on with their education and normal activities. However, there are some additional recommendations.
● Some students and staff have underlying health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, that put them at higher risk. Parents and other caregivers of individuals with health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their child should stay home.
● The novel coronavirus is more likely to spread when a lot of people gather closely; minimize the number of classroom activities where students and staff are working within arm’s length of one another
The County Office of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control guidance for K-12 schools and childcare centers are used as recommendations for mass gatherings and large events. The advisory is as follows:
Stay home if sick
All students and staff should stay home if they feel sick. If any student or staff members experiences the symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath while at a school facility, the individual shall be isolated until a caregiver is able to transport the individual. Medical personnel are delayed in providing a doctor’s note for individuals confirmed with the disease so office staff will give some extra time for clearing absences of those contracting COVID 19.
Exposure is thought to mostly occur through respiratory droplets but surfaces can still transfer the virus from person to person. Frequently touched surfaces should be regularly cleaned. Doorknobs, tabletops, counters, phones, keyboards and fixtures should be disinfected several times throughout the day. Cleaning is especially important for classroom environments where desks are shared.
Everyone needs to follow increased hygiene measures that include:
● Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
● Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
● Provide hand sanitizer stations for each classroom setting and at entrances when possible
● Avoid close contact with other people
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
● CDC Planning Guide – Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Educational Settings