The first and most important role of Belpre City Schools is to keep its students, faculty and staff safe while they are in our buildings learning. Our organization has been very closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (known as the “coronavirus”) and discussing contingency plans in the event of the spread of disease to the Mid Ohio Valley. The first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Ohio earlier today but we are still unaware of any cases in our area or in the portions of West Virginia close to our school district.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education have all compiled excellent information for school districts and the public at large to consider. Coronavirus spreads mainly between people in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) through coughs or sneezes or by touching a surface with the virus and then touching their own eyes, mouth or nose. We should all be doing three key things to prevent the spread of disease: washing hands, avoid sneezing into the air or on hands and frequently cleaning surfaces. Accordingly, effective March, 10, 2020 we will be implementing the following procedures:
- We will be placing in all bathrooms hand washing steps and reminders to encourage students to wash their hands.
- Require all students to wash their hands before they eat lunch as well as after recess.
- Request all classrooms to ensure that light switches, door knobs and desk surfaces are disinfected at lunch time and at the end of the day.
- Suspend any classroom or school-wide incentives for student perfect attendance to encourage families to keep their students home if they are showing any cold or flu like symptoms.
- Increase cleaning in common areas, water fountains and weight rooms.
- Bus seats will be sanitized daily.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide for additional deep cleaning of the building to make sure it is as safe as possible for students. We have outlined several additional steps that we will take if required in the future. We would ask that our parents have a conversation with their students about the importance of washing their hands, sneezing into their elbow instead of their hand and staying home or telling their teacher if they are not feeling well.
In the unlikely event that we need to cancel school we will notify parents as we would during snow days. Our teachers have already prepared calamity day lessons that students can do from home in the event that we need to make up some time. We will continue to be transparent with our families in our communication and response to the illness.