SDMA Coronavirus Response

SDMA Coronavirus Response
Posted on 02/28/2020
Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation this week that Americans begin preparing for the likely spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has already affected thousands of citizens in China and is spreading to other countries around the world. At this time the CDC suggests that current risks in our community are low, with only a limited number of cases of coronavirus in the United States, but we all know that could change rapidly. The School District of the Menomonie Area is taking action to plan for a potential pandemic that could impact our schools and community, and more information will be shared in the future as needed. Here are a few items to consider at this time:

Education and Prevention
● Again, current risks of coronavirus in the United States is low. It is important not to create panic or unnecessary trauma related to this situation, so please be sure to monitor age-appropriate impact on children who are exposed to news reports that could cause anxiety or fear. A good source for factual information and guidance on the virus is the CDC website.
● Focus on good hygiene and reassure children that we all need to focus on prevention measures instead of dwelling on or exaggerating concerns related to this illness. The best way to avoid coronavirus (or any virus) is to practice good hygiene practices which include frequent handwashing with soap and water. A good resource on proper handwashing is also available on the CDC website.
● Other good hygiene practices include using hand sanitizer (when soap and water might not be available), coughing/sneezing into tissues that are then disposed into the trash, staying home from school and possibly seeing your physician when you are sick, staying away from people who have the flu/virus, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when possible.
● At this time it is NOT recommended by public health authorities to use masks or gloves, cancel mass gatherings, or cancel classes at school.
● Even though this coronavirus originated in China, now is a good time to teach kids about avoiding any prejudices and stigma. Be sure to let children know that travel and contact are causing this disease to spread, not ethnicity.

While we do not want to create any false alarm, our school district wants to assure families and staff that we are monitoring matters closely and that we have pandemic plans under review. We have been, and will continue to take additional steps to clean and disinfect high traffic areas where “germs” can be in our schools (classroom desks, counters, door handles, lunch tables, etc.), and we will also continue to educate ourselves on all related best practices for schools.

If you have any questions about the School District of the Menomonie Area and our plans or current response associated with the coronavirus, please feel free to contact me. We will continue to keep you informed and updated as needed.

Yours truly,

Joseph E. Zydowsky, PhD
District Administrator  

*Thank you to SDMA School Nurse Ramie McMahon, SDMA Director of Students Services Tonia Kowieski, and River Falls Superintendent Dr. Jamie Benson for contributing to this communication.