UPDATE: FCSD's Coronavirus Preventative and Proactive Measures
Update- FCSD's Coronavirus Preventative and Proactive Measures
To be absolutely clear, the Fairfield Community School District will follow the guidance from Jefferson County Public Health and Iowa Department of Public Health. FCSD will not decide on school closings or canceling events unless notified by the Public Health sector. However, FCSD will take precautionary steps and planning in the event of a public health decision. Information is being gathered, and planning is taking place in the event of a direction from Public Health. Also, FCSD is taking preventative safety measures. Many of the actions in place have been in place. We do not want to set fear in our community, but we do need to be prepared.
Actions and Measures
Bus seat sanitation continues as usual during flu season
Hand sanitizers used for staff and students
Diligently cleaning all door handles, water fountains, restroom fixtures, light switches, bathroom floors on a daily routine
Extra supplies ordered for preventative measures
Food and Nutrition
All lunchrooms have changed access to food trays. Servers keep trays on the service side and hand the tray to the student once the food is on the tray. This action will limit the touching of the trays by several people.
All silverware will be bagged and handed to students.
All fresh fruit will be bagged for students to grab.
Silverware is double sanitized. Most of the kitchens were already doing this step.
More silverware ordered.
Buildings are working on getting hand sanitizers for students to use before they go through the food line.
New napkins dispensers with a one-pull are ordered.
There will be no more food sharing carts until further notice.
Pence is placing tape on the floor so students cannot touch the serving line counter.
Self serve lines will sanitize utensils between serving times.
All staff are safe serve certified, and trained in food safety.
Nurses, Teachers, and FCSD staff
The nurses are keeping up on the latest from the CDC and IPHD and Jefferson County Public Health. They are sharing information on hand cleaning practices and healthy actions such as coughing in your elbow and the steps of washing hands in classrooms. Teachers, staff, and associates are reinforcing the preventative practices with children. Teachers and students are also cleaning desks throughout the days.
In the event of school closing, the District is investigating options and ways to support students and families.
There are serious discussions to address in the event we need to close school for an extended period. School closings will only happen if the Jefferson County Public Health determines the need for such extensive actions. Fairfield Community School District is in the planning stages to support this action.
Many schools that have already closed have moved the majority of their classroom instruction to an online format. While this is not ideal, Fairfield may need to begin thinking of how this may work, moving forward with online instruction. Online instruction could create challenges for families with poor internet access or primary age children. Understand high-quality instruction cannot be replicated online. This is a possible way to provide a bridge of instruction while students are away or if the school is canceled.
The Department of Education strongly recommends schools continue with food service for lunch each day. This may require our school nutrition program to begin creating brown bag lunches that can be transported to various areas of the county who need food during a temporary closure.
FCSD is steps ahead of many districts because the process is in place due to the Summer Feeding Program. The Food and Nutrition Director, Stephanie Hawkins, attended a conference on feeding in a disaster. The planning is taking place if needed.
We have yet to determine whether to have non-instructional services continue if we had to close schools. These services would include school administration, secretaries, custodians, and maintenance staff.
If school closed due to the Coronavirus, we might temporarily suspend all extra-curricular activities. This would include athletics, music, and/or K-12 club and sponsored events. A final decision on this would be made later if needed. At this time, we are not canceling any events since there are no cases in Jefferson County.
Upon the recommendation of state officials, schools in Iowa are not to close without consultation from the Iowa Department of Public Health. If we feel we need to do so, it will be in full coordination with the IDPH. If the school required closing, it would need constant communication and serious discussions with several parties. Ultimately, we will want to hear from all corners of our district community so that we can make the best decisions possible.
As mentioned earlier, we hope we do not see the day where we will have to close due to a coronavirus outbreak. However, as superintendent, I want to ensure we are prepared and ready for a worst-case scenario.
Talking points for parents
More proactive measures can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
For specific questions concerning the Coronavirus, dial 211
This number is an emergency number like the 911 call. The 211 number is explicitly set for support during this time.