August 11, 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools to Remain Open in Immediate Future; if Closed Later, Will be for Two Weeks; Parents Should Start Preparing Now for Closure

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out a detailed communication regarding the COVID-19 outbreak to all parents, staff and faculty this afternoon (March 11.)  Key points from the communication are as follows:

  • All school and district offices will remain open, in regular session, for students and staff.
  • Should there be a need to close schools (due to a confirmed case of COVID-19), (the affected school) or (all schools and district buildings) will be closed for a two-week duration. Parents/caregivers are urged to begin to prepare alternative accommodations for your child in the event that a closure is warranted.
  • All enrichment activities/events (evening school concerts, plays, family engagement events, etc.) that are planned for groups of more than 100 people are cancelled starting March 11 through April 30
  • All out-of-state field trips are cancelled between March 11 and April 30.
  • All winter sports championship tournaments are cancelled.
  • All state employee travel on state business outside Connecticut is frozen.
  • All state-organized gatherings anticipated to have more than 100 people in attendance will be evaluated as to whether they should be postponed or changed to teleconference events.

The full text of the communication is below.

“Yesterday, Governor Lamont announced Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies, effective through September 9, 2020 which read in part, “local education officials are directed to follow previously issued guidance and apply relevant principles of risk management to decisions about whether to cancel, modify, or postpone large gatherings, public events, or travel.“  The guidance he references is below.

Districts, in consultation with the municipal or district health department, should consider the directives made to state agencies by the Governor (below) in considering district planning for large events where there would be 100 or more people in attendance such as:

·       Athletic events

·       School plays/Spring concerts

·       Field trips

Summary of Guidance from Governor to State Agencies:

·       An immediate freeze on state employee travel for state business outside of Connecticut until further notice.

·       Any State of Connecticut-organized large meetings, conferences, or gatherings anticipated to have more than 100 people in attendance will be evaluated as to whether these events should move to teleconference or be postponed.

·       For events or meetings with large numbers of people within arm’s length of each other, encourage those who are at higher risk due to age (70 or older), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems, not to attend or dial in.

If Connecticut experiences widespread sustained community transmission, public safety considerations including extended school closures as a public health prevention measure will be made at the direction of the Office of the Governor with input from Connecticut State Department of Education, Department of Public Health, and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

We are in regular communication with our district medical advisor, Vijay Sikand M.D., and the Ledge Light Health District (our local health department).  We also monitor the CDC website on a daily basis.  

Today, the Ledge Light Health District provided the following notification to school districts within its coverage area.

At this time, school closures in Connecticut have not been directed by Federal and/or State officials. Instead, the Governor and Commissioner have issued guidance https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus. The decision to close schools will be made by school district administration in coordination with and/or at the direction of local health officials. The following protocols are hereby implemented: 

Effective Immediately:

·       At this time, all school and district offices will remain open, in regular session, for students and staff.

·       All enrichment activities/events (evening school concerts, plays, family engagement events, etc.) that are planned for groups of more than 100 people are cancelled beginning today, March 11th through April 30th. 

·       All out-of-state field trips are cancelled between March 11th and April 30th.

·       All winter sports championship tournaments are cancelled. This announcement was made by the CIAC on March 10. 

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a school district:

·       Should there be a need to close schools (due to a confirmed case of COVID-19), (the affected school) or (all schools and district buildings) will be closed for a two-week duration. Please begin to prepare alternative accommodations for your child in the event that a closure is warranted. The school community will be informed about the need for a school closing through our regular communication methods. In addition, the district will keep the school community apprised of updates through regular communications, as the situation may change.

·       Should the district need to close, the days missed will be made up between June 22-30, 2020 as well as April 15-17, 2020.

In an effort to limit the exposure to COVID-19 for high risk individuals, elderly or immunocompromised individuals are discouraged from coming to our campuses.  We also are imploring everyone to follow the procedures shared with you in our last two communications which are repeated below. It is expected that all of us ensure our students understand the necessity of proper hygiene to avoid illness.  Therefore, please share this information with your student(s). We will continue to reinforce these practices during the school day.

Use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is recommended if soap and water are not available. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Illness prevention is the first line of defense. The following are recommended measures that can lower the risk of any illness including COVID-19:

·       Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is recommended.

·       Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.

·       Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

·       Clean frequently-touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant product.

·       Avoid sharing drinking cups, food, and other personal items.

·       Stay at home if you are ill to minimize the transmission of illness and disease.

·       It is important that parents communicate with their child’s teacher if they are out with illness.

Students and staff should not attend school with the following symptoms of common illness or disease:

·       Temperature of 100 degrees or greater. Individuals should be fever-free without use of a fever-reducing medication for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to school.

·       Vomiting and/or diarrhea. Individuals should remain at home until they have stopped vomiting for at least 24 hours and are able to tolerate fluids and solid foods.

·       Sore throat that is accompanied by fatigue, body aches, and fever.

·       A persistent/disruptive cough lasting for more than a few days or with fever.

·       Eye discomfort with itching, redness, pain, and drainage.

·       Skin rash suggestive of a communicable disease. We ask that any blisters or open sores be healed before returning to school

·       We request a note if a student has seen a physician and been absent due to a communicable disease.

For more information regarding COVID-19, please click on the following links.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Public-Health-Preparedness/Main-Page/2019-Novel-Coronavirus

2 – LLHD COVID-19 Reference.pdf 

3 – LLHD COVID-19 Reference 2.pdf 

4 – COVID-19_parent_handout_NASP_NASN_2-20_FINAL.pdf 

5 – COVID-19 Hotline.pdf 

We continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC, our district medical advisor, and the Ledge Light Health District and will adjust our position if needed.  Any changes will be communicated to parents and staff via email. “

The communiation ends with an invitation to anyone receiving it to feel free to contact the Superintendent or your school nurse with any questions or concerns.

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