As school districts across the country take precautionary measures against the coronavirus, Texoma districts continue to monitor the situation. Representatives with Sherman and Denison Independent School districts plan to continue classes as scheduled.
Denison schools have canceled all non-essential activities outside of the classroom in response to COVID-19 concerns.
With an increasing number of colleges either canceling classes or extending spring break, Denison Independent School District is preparing to continue to conduct classes as normal with some additional measures in place to promote health and safety. Classroom instruction will continue as normal. Sports and other extracurricular activities are currently on hold until further notice.
“We are still planning to welcome students on Tuesday, March 17,” SISD Superintendent David Hicks said in the letter sent to parents Thursday afternoon. “We will continue to refer to the information provided by national and state officials from several entities and local officials from the Grayson County Health Department to make the appropriate decisions for our district.
We will continue to monitor and evaluate this fluid situation prior to reopening school on Tuesday, March 17, and will communicate via our webpage, and by automated text and email in the event the situation changes.”
Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott sent out a letter to parents Friday saying the district will regularly scheduled classes. He also said in a phone call some of the band students had been on a trip to Memphis, Tennessee this weekend set to return on Sunday. However, that trip has been cut short and the students were asked to return early due to concerns.
“Denison ISD is staying on top of the latest information and recommendations by participating in daily conference calls with top experts and State health officials, who are continuing to provide updates from the CDC and the World Health Organization,” Scott said in the letter.”Although no other actions are recommended in Grayson County at this time, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 and follow any future recommendations from the CDC, all government health agencies, the Office of Emergency Management, and our local health officials.”
Scott said the district used the spring break time o review its public health protocols and began implementing some additional cleaning measures to ensure public safety concerns are addressed.
The district administrators held a meeting on Friday morning to discuss any possible measures relating to the pandemic.
The district is asking any student who has traveled outside of the United States to talk to the campus nurse to determine of a self-quarantine is recommended. Students who have recently visited any areas in the country with high exposure including Washington state, New York and California are also advised to seek quarantine advice. The district will work with parents of students who are deemed necessary to quarantine to help the students continue to work on assignments.
“Because no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Grayson County as of Friday, March 13, 2020, we are still planning to receive students on Monday, March 16, 2020,” Scott said. “Health officials continue to recommend that local communities and schools should take the same steps to protect against COVID-19 as we take to prevent the spread of other diseases like colds or the flu”
The district is asking any students who have had a fever to stay home until it has been cleared for at least 24 hours. The district is encouraging everyone to wash their hands often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water if available and alcohol-based sanitizer in the absence of soap and water. The letter also recommends to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands while taking care to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The district is also asking unnecessary visitors to refrain from visiting the campuses including having on campus lunches with students.
The letter stated that the district had disinfected each campus with hospital-grade cleaning products with an emphasis on door handles, desks, water fountains and bathrooms.
“Foam soap dispensers are also located in all restrooms, and many hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout all campuses to ensure staff and students can easily access hand sanitizer as needed,” Scott said.”Teachers and staff will continuously encourage students to wash hands and use sanitizers. At the elementary level, nurses will be providing hand washing and illness etiquette lessons in all classrooms.”
The letter said school officials will notify students and parents should a sporting event be postponed or cancelled.
“We appreciate your partnership with each of our schools, and we are thankful that we get to be a part of your students’ lives,” Scott said. “Please know that we will continue to do everything within our power to ensure the safety and health of all of those entrusted to our care.”
During the week of spring break, SISD custodial staff worked to disinfect all campuses using hospital-grade cleaning products, with a focus on contact surfaces, including door handles, the tops of desks, water fountains and other surfaces. Hicks said custodial staff will continue to disinfect the campuses on a daily basis.
Bathrooms are equipped with foam soap dispensers, and 700 hand sanitizer stations are located throughout all campuses for easy access by students and staff.
Moving forward, Hicks asked that any students who have a fever or do not feel well not attend classes, and recommended that parents and students speak to campus nurses for health-related questions.
“Additionally, we are asking anyone that may have traveled out of the country during spring break to adhere to the CDC travel restriction information,” Hicks said. “Staff and students returning from countries identified on the CDC’s travel warnings should notify their campus nurse on Monday, March 16, and self-quarantine at home for a period of 14 days to monitor symptoms.”