The purpose of this announcement is to help inform all stakeholders in Lauderdale County about current knowledge and guidance around the role of the school in responding to the novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says the current risk to the general public in the United States is relatively low, the CDC is preparing communities for the possibility of “community” spread of the virus. It is important to continue using the same precautions that are used in the community each year for influenza.
There are common coronaviruses that circulate in the United States every year, which usually cause upper respiratory tract illnesses much like the common cold. Symptoms such as fever and cough resemble seasonal flu and the best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same preventive strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: get a flu shot every year, wash hands regularly with warm water and soap, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness. Novel coronavirus is spread similarly to other respiratory illnesses, like the flu and the common cold, through coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms.
We understand that school staff, parents, and the community are concerned about everyone’s health and safety. Administrators in Lauderdale County will keep a close eye on guidance from state, local, and national experts on this issue. Since this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities from around the globe are closely monitoring the 2019-nCoV outbreak and are implementing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
It is our goal to keep students, employees, and the community out of harm’s way. Please remember that any locally confirmed cases will be immediately reported by healthcare officials and the CDC will respond accordingly. Absolutely no one who is diagnosed with novel coronavirus will ever be allowed to return to school or work by healthcare officials until well. In the event of a confirmed, local outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Lauderdale County Schools will cooperate fully with the proper authorities and, in collaboration with the CDC, communicate our emergency response plan to all stakeholders.