- Dripping Springs ISD
Superintendent's Update Regarding Coronavirus
March 11, 2020
Dear DSISD Families,
As the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it is understandable that members of our community may have questions or concerns. In fact, today the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 to be a pandemic based on its current and potential spread. The emergence of this virus has been unexpected and its implications are unknown, a combination that adds up to uneasiness for many. We want you to know that the health and well-being of our students, staff and DSISD community is our highest priority.
We want to reassure you that we are monitoring the status of the COVID-19 outbreak through our local health department, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, no cases or suspected cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Dripping Springs ISD community or the Dripping Springs area. However, the Texas Department of State Health Services has announced several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in other areas of Texas and we expect this situation to continue to evolve. For updated information at the state level, visit the reported cases listed on the State Health Department website.
Tips for Health and Hygiene:
I encourage us all to take simple actions to help prevent the spread of any type of respiratory illness.
· Stay at home if you are sick
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or a tissue, and throw used tissues in the trash
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
· Between hand washes, regularly use alcohol-based (60-95 percent) hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
· Avoid contact with people who are sick
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Steps We Are Taking:
Our teachers are reminding students to follow these protocols at school. Our custodians remain diligent in overall cleaning with the use of disinfectants and are taking extra steps to ensure all commonly touched surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. In addition to the work of our custodians, we will be providing additional spray bottles of disinfecting solution and wipes to classroom teachers as well. Our Transportation Department is spraying down buses regularly. In addition, we are installing several new hand sanitizer stations at all schools to offer a quick alternative between hand washes.
Our school nurses diligently follow health protocols on an everyday basis. They keep a close watch on any student who comes to our clinics reporting fever or flu-like symptoms. If temperatures are 100 degrees or more, parents are contacted to pick up their child. Because our nurses regularly report flu-related illnesses to the county health department, parents are asked to provide information of a confirmed illness when reporting a student absence.
A decision was made to postpone out-of-state school-sponsored trips before and during Spring Break, which caused the postponement of one trip. As a district, we do not feel confident we can reasonably ensure adequate safety on out-of-state excursions at this time. Out-of-state trips scheduled after Spring Break will be re-evaluated.
As we head into Spring Break, we recommend that our families take precautions when traveling for leisure and stay informed about current travel advisories. The CDC advises against all nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran (Level 3) at this time, and recommends that travelers stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States. A lower level warning is in place for Japan (Level 2), mainly directed to older adults or those with chronic health conditions. Please contact your campus administrator if your family plans to travel to any of these countries for further direction.
We recognize that travel advisories are updated on an ongoing basis, so please be aware that other areas could be added at any time. Travel advisories are posted on the CDC website. If traveling to any destination, be proactive and monitor closely for symptoms for approximately 14 days upon return, staying home and seeking medical attention if you become ill.
We fully expect this situation to evolve over the coming weeks and are prepared to modify our practices and procedures accordingly. We recognize that flexibility may be necessary, especially if conditions warrant a change in our school operations. Any decisions to alter school operations will be based on direction provided by the CDC and state/county health officials. Our curriculum staff is developing options and considering ways we may be able to adapt our service models for learning if needed. Platforms such as Canvas, online textbooks, and electronic communication between teachers and students could prove extremely valuable to continue educating students remotely if needed.
As a district, we will communicate when and if conditions change that impact our district directly. Here are some other links to more general information you may find useful:
We also have compiled several other links that can be found on our webpage devoted to this topic.
In times of uncertainty, it is important for us to focus on self-care more than ever. In addition to the Tips for Health we have shared, be sure that you take time to get plenty of rest, provide your body with healthy nutrition, and rejuvenate yourself by spending time with your family and friends. Again, I want to emphasize that the health and well-being of our students, staff and the DSISD community is our highest priority.
Best wishes for a safe Spring Break,
Superintendent of Schools