I am following up on an earlier communication about the Novel Coronavirus (newly abbreviated COVID-19). The Novel Coronavirus is a virus which can infect the respiratory tract, and spread similarly to cold viruses. Information to date suggests that COVID-19 causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. At this time, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that there have been no cases reported in New Jersey.
The health and safety of our students and staff are a priority for BRRSD. As you may be aware, the CDC states that more cases of COVID-19 “are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.” As a result, we would like to communicate some important items with our school community.
The NJ Department of Health is working with our county health department to monitor the situation and is preparing guidance documents for health care professionals to be able to effectively respond to any cases that may be identified in the State. Please contact your principal if a member of your household has recently traveled to one of the substantially impacted areas: China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, or Hong Kong. The DOE recommends that school districts ask any students or employees who returned to the school from the above listed areas within the last two weeks — and have the symptoms of a respiratory illness —to contact the school immediately and seek medical attention.
Our school district has policies in place to guide us through these types of situations. District Policies 8451 and 2412 require that we comply with all regulations of the State Departments of Education and Health, as well as the Somerset County Health Department. District Policy 2412 provides home instruction for students who cannot participate in the regular education program due to temporary health conditions.
According to the CDC, “While the immediate risk to this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat.” Our school nurses monitor absences and report any flu-like symptoms to the health department. It is recommended that individuals follow these public health guidelines, not just for COVID-19, but also to prevent the spread of influenza:
Prevent the spread of germs by covering coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid sick people.
- Review and follow the CDC travel advisory when planning travel. If you or a family member becomes ill after returning home to the United States, call a healthcare provider.
- For more information visit the following websites:
The above websites have an enormous amount of information. Highlighting a few pieces, you might check out these specific subpages: SCDOH February 24th Press Release, CDC Situation Summary of February 27th, and finally Share Facts, Not Fear. The Share Facts, Not Fear page is something I would ask you to take some extra time reviewing with your children. It explains that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19 and it has practical health care steps we can all take. We appreciate your support and will maintain regular communication with you as additional information about the impact of COVID-19 becomes available.
Please note, we have a portion of our website with applicable documents posted. As situations evolve, we are prepared to comply with the directions from the State and local health agencies, and we will make adjustments as necessary.
Russell M. Lazovick
Superintendent of Schools
For updated information regarding the Coronavirus, please see the NJ Department of Education’s updated broadcast which includes links to important information from the Department of Health.
Within the B-R community, we must continue to work together to keep everyone safe. While the school district continues to support all of our students and our families, we urge everyone to be aware of the current recommendation from our health experts and follow their direction as it applies to your family and your students.
If it is necessary, for the safety of all, to keep a student home from school for a prolonged period of time because of this issue, please contact your guidance counselor who, in conjunction with the building administrator, can work with you to ensure the continuation of your student's educational program.