Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 10)

Health officials and schools continue to coordinate efforts and monitor the situation

San Joaquin County Public Health Services (SJCPHS) announced on March 10 the first laboratory-confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in San Joaquin County. According to SJCPHS, this individual was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise ship; however, they were not on the cruise that is currently disembarking in Oakland.

As COVID-19 concerns continue to be a priority, we want to keep you updated on our plans for keeping our schools, students and employees safe. Our agency, the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SCJOE), is working closely with Public Health officials, and we will continue to provide families with new information when appropriate.

At this time, schools remain open and we continue to prepare to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the progression of COVID-19 is still evolving, the CDC is reporting that for the general public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

What we are doing

The SJCOE is in contact with SJCPHS and the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services (OES) to make sure we are all unified in our preparation and decisions. Some other steps being taken include:

  • Reviewing our Communicable Disease/Pandemic Preparedness Plan.
  • Asking staff if they have recently traveled abroad to high-risk countries (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan) or if they are sick with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Routinely cleaning highly touched surfaces, such as door handles, faucet handles, handrails, shared desks, push bars, drinking fountains, and other surfaces. SJCOE Operations has confirmed with our janitorial contractors that these surfaces will continue to be routinely cleaned with Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant in all SJCOE buildings, wherever they are.

SJCPHS and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) remind us that a healthy school environment involves limiting exposure to germs from those who are ill. Please keep children home if they are unwell, symptomatic or contagious. Additionally, the most important way to prevent the spread of viruses at school AND at home is for all of us to be diligent with our own hygiene practices:

  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If soap and water are not available, use a skin-friendly disinfectant wipe or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Think about how to care for loved ones at home if they or you get sick, including how to prevent other family members from becoming infected.

Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we take this responsibility seriously. We will continue to work closely with health officials to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.

For more information, we encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/.

The SJCOE will provide updates when appropriate and will post updates and trusted resources at www.sjcoe.org/healthsafety

Posted: 3/10/2020