District Response #0 | March 12, 2020
Dear PSJA Family,
We want to reassure you that we are actively monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. We are in frequent contact with Hidalgo County and are closely monitoring the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well.
While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hidalgo County, we are following the recommendations of the CDC and want to warn our staff about traveling to and from affected areas. The CDC advises against all nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran (Level 3) at this time. Travelers who are symptomatic upon return from some areas will be subject to immediate quarantine and testing. Those who are not symptomatic could be quarantined and monitored. Lower level warnings are in place for Japan (Level 2) and Hong Kong (Level 1).
As a district, we may take additional precautions by requiring our staff to self-isolate up-to 14 days after returning from a high-risk location. You can follow the travel advisory by visiting their website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
In addition, all school-sponsored travel will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Parents may request that their child be excluded from travel without the student being penalized for not attending.
We also want to inform you that we have been taking preventive measures within the district by:
- Running weekly flu and fever reports to help identify any illness
- All campuses are being disinfected twice a day with hospital grade disinfectants
- Operations staff (Maintenance & Custodial) have enhanced disinfecting efforts
- Schools with high incidence of fever and flu are being cleaned more often
- Frequent phone conferences with Hidalgo County Health Department
- Flu, Hand washing and general practices for flu season shared with schools
- Information on cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing was distributed
- Monitoring CDC and DSHS websites on identifying and precautions:https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/guidance-hcp.html
Below are additional recommendations from the Hidalgo County Health Department and CDC on travel this season:
Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to practice precautions to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.
Things to consider before travel:
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be at higher risk of exposure if you travel there.
- Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation, if there are people in the crowd who are sick. This may include settings such as conferences, public events (like concerts and sporting events), religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theaters and shopping malls), and public transportation (like buses, metro, trains).
- Are you or your travel companion(s) at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19?
People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
- Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19?
If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.
- Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition?
If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or have severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you live?
Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health condition These people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you don’t have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.
The following is an optional employee survey that will help us continue to monitor the situation during and after the break. If you plan to leave the County during our Spring Break, please fill out the following form:https://form.jotform.com/200713829121144
We will continue to provide updates as the situation progresses. If the situation should escalate during spring break, we will utilize mass phone notification, our website and social media outlets to notify parents and staff. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time.
Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo
Superintendent of Schools
Sulema Solis, MSN, FNP-C
Health Services Director