Coronavirus information for families, staff

Given the recent and elevated attention the coronavirus (COVID-19) has received, the Cheatham County School District wants to share some important information and resources with our families.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). Stopping the spread of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy. Symptoms may range from mild to severe and are similar to a cold or influenza. They include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Who is at risk?

Of the current known cases, children appear to be the least at risk. Those most at risk are the elderly, immunocompromised, or adults with certain pre-existing conditions. More information on COVID-19, such as prevention, treatment, and how it is spread, is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Is COVID-19 active in Tennessee?

The CDC keeps current a map tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on the CDC website.

What is the Cheatham County School District doing to prepare for possible COVID-19 cases?

The Cheatham County School District has been actively involved in pandemic preparedness planning with the Department of Health and local emergency response planners and agencies. A portion of the district-wide Emergency Response document is dedicated to a comprehensive plan for responding to pandemics. That plan includes steps to ensure continuity of operations (such as financial obligations, building maintenance, and security) in the face of excessive absences. It also considers steps that would be taken to control the outbreak, in concert with governmental agencies such as the Health Department, Emergency Medical Services and the CDC, and provide continuity of service to students.

How will the Cheatham County School District respond if there is a local outbreak?

Educational responses may range from:

• Increased communications about keeping symptomatic students home;

• To coordinated student handwashing and increased cleaning of hard surfaces such as doorknobs and desks;

• If necessary, cancellation of extra-curricular events;

• Up to and including school closure.

Should a case of coronavirus be confirmed by the Department of Health among our students or staff, we will immediately notify all parents and provide recommendations and next steps. In any situation, such as a community-wide quarantine that required the closure of all schools for more than just a few days, we would make every effort to continue providing educational programming in an age-appropriate manner. Doing so is important to maintain learning and to provide students with a sense of normalcy and a positive focus during a stressful situation.

What is the Cheatham County School District doing now in response to the spread of coronavirus?

In addition to monitoring both the spread of COVID-19 and any recommendations by the CDC, here are the steps we are taking to prepare for this possible emergency.

• Reviewing our emergency operating plans

• Monitoring field trip destinations to ensure students are not traveling to or through cities experiencing an outbreak (as defined by the CDC)

• Reminding students and staff about respiratory etiquette and handwashing

• Reminding parents to keep students at home who have symptoms of a respiratory illness

• Developing information-sharing systems specific to this potential outbreak with other organizations and governmental agencies

• Monitoring absenteeism and notifying local health officials about large increases in student or staff absences

• Strengthening procedures to isolate and send home students and staff who are sick at school as soon as symptoms present

• Enhancing existing environmental cleaning

• Creating communications plans specific to the potential outbreak for use with the school community