SENT VIA EMAIL: March 8, 2020
I hope everyone had a good break. We have continued to monitor public health notices regarding the virus. By example, please see this link to information from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As a reminder, below are my emails from before the break regarding precautions to be taken and our contingency plans for virtual learning if that is required.
Most importantly tonight, if your family or any family members have traveled to China, Italy, Japan, South Korea or Iran in the last three weeks, we need you to please call Comer or me before your child returns to school. (See CDC Risk Assessment by Country )
Of course, we hope that any of you will reach out to us if you have questions.
The health and safety of children remains our first priority, and we will continue to follow the lead of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for the latest and most reliable coronavirus information, keeping everyone apprised should anything change.
Best regards in anticipation of a healthy return,
Sondra Mims 678/793-7115
Comer Yates 404/245-0327
SENT VIA EMAIL: February 28, 2020
I hope you all have a wonderful spring break and that you return to us on March 9th safe and sound as we move into the final months of the school year. This email is meant simply to advise you, given the unpredictable status of the Covid-19 virus, that a plan for “Virtual Learning Instruction” is being developed now. In the event that the Speech School is required to close for a lengthy period of time, we are working on a plan for our students to continue to receive teaching and learning from us in your home. Presently, we intend to use FACTS (RenWeb) LMS as our platform for Virtual Learning as it already contains all staff and student information and is Cloud-based and platform agnostic. In other words, it should work well for all of our students, families and teachers. The developing plan is for teachers, including Classroom Teachers, SLPs, OTs, Reading Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Enrichment Teachers, etc. to have the capability to provide appropriate learning experiences for your students during an extended school closing. While lessons will need to be recorded rather than livestreamed, our students will be able to receive documents and respond to their teachers during teaching times determined by individual school directors in concert with their teaching staff.
We will be in touch as the Covid-19 situation evolves and our plan is more fully developed. If necessary, we could jump start the plan within a days’ time.
SENT VIA EMAIL: February 18, 2020
Dear Speech School Family,
We understand that many of you have continuing concerns regarding the respiratory virus, novel coronavirus (now called COVID-19) that has affected many in Wuhan, China and the impact the virus may have here in the U.S. As always, we are determined to do everything possible to keep you, our Speech School family informed, while we work to keep our children and staff safe and healthy. To that end, Nurse Katrina is continually monitoring the notifications and updates related to the virus and is overseeing the School’s response to the recommendations provided by the CDC. Please click on the following link if you would like to follow the CDC’s updates about flu and COVID-19:
According to the CDC and the Georgia Department of Health, the best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same strategies used during normal cold and flu season. Therefore, the Speech School continues to take a multi-faceted approach to prevention of illness in our building. Our approach includes: Health and Wellness, Buildings and Grounds, and Food and Nutrition.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
In order to continue to promote health and wellness, especially in response to COVID-19 concerns, we are reminding all families and staff members to follow the Speech School’s health and wellness policy:
Wash hands often with warm soap and water (the Happy Birthday Song is the correct amount of time to wash)
Cover coughs and sneezes (with elbow or tissue)
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid contact with people who are sick
Avoid sharing utensils (cups, water bottles, etc.)
Stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness.
Anyone who has vomited or has a fever greater than 99.5 (the threshold has been temporarily lowered) should remain at home until “fever free” for a minimum of 24 hours (without the use of Over the Counter antipyretics).
In addition, on February 6, 2020, an advisory from DPH stated the following: All individuals (which may include parents, students, or staff) who have traveled to China within the past 14 days and returned on or after February 3, 2020 must remain at home and be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms by the Georgia Department of Public Health (404-657-6588). Students, faculty or staff whose family members have traveled from China in the last 14 days (and are being monitored for symptoms) do not need to be excluded from school.
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
We are also dedicated to making sure our building is a healthy environment for our students, staff and our families. Please see our standard operating procedures and what we have done recently to respond to flu season and COVID-19 below:
Buildings and Grounds utilizes a hybrid cleaning staff with 2 crews – an in-house cleaning crew and an outside vendor. Both crews are required to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often or daily, such as desks, countertops, lunch tables, doorknobs, faucet handles, and stair rails. Both crews are trained to use cleaning techniques that help prevent the spread of germs and cross-contamination. They use microfiber cleaning towels to capture more bacteria and EPA-registered disinfectant to kill germs. Hand hygiene supplies and SANI-CLOTH® HB GERMICIDAL disposable wipes are readily available to all classrooms for use throughout the school day. In response to flu season and to allow the outside cleaning crew more time to target specific areas (leaving cleaning solutions longer, etc.) in the evenings, we have added more hours to their contract.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
Chef’s Advantage and all kitchen staff members pride themselves in serving healthy, nutritious meals to our students and staff. For best health outcomes, make sure that children get plenty of sleep, are physically active, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food to help build the immune system and avoid illness. The COVID-19 virus is respiratory and, therefore, is transmitted between people and not food. However, our food service precautions are listed here:
Hand washing after eating, drinking, coughing, sneezing, blowing nose or touching exposed skin (face, arms, etc.)
Hand washing before putting on gloves and between glove changes
Hand washing before leaving the restroom and again before starting to work in the kitchen.
Covering face with arm/elbow when coughing or sneezing
Kitchen Staff who have experienced diarrhea or vomiting in the previous 24 hours are excluded from work
Our dishwasher sterilizes with heat: rinse water at 180° or higher for 5 seconds
Sterilizing surfaces with approved anti-microbial sanitizers
Washing fruits & vegetables with approved anti-microbial
Heating hot food to 165° or higher and holding it at 140° or higher
Keeping frozen food at 0° or lower
Holding cold food at 41° or lower
I hope this glimpse of what the Speech School routinely does and is doing in response to the CDC’s recommendations regarding flu and the COVID-19 virus has been helpful to you. The listing above is not meant to be exhaustive. We mean only to keep you informed about precautions we are taking on behalf of our students and staff in light of recommendations by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Health. While COVID-19 is being carefully monitored to reduce the spread of the virus, the CDC continues to believe the immediate risk to the general public in the U.S. remains low at this time. As with seasonal flu and strep infections, the above are precautions we can all take to remain as healthy as possible now and throughout the year. If you have further questions, please email our nurse, Katrina Henley, or me. As a community and as individuals we must be mindful of our health and wellness by protecting ourselves and our children, as well as the health of those around us. In saying that, I will leave you with these final words:
Remember to practice good hand hygiene, stay home when sick and educate others!
To a healthy remainder of the year,
Sondra Mims, M.A., CCC-SLP Katrina Henley, R.N.
Chief Academic Officer School Nurse
Atlanta Speech School Atlanta Speech School