Emergency preparedness in Mesa Public Schools
The health and safety of students and staff is our top priority
Facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We understand that there may be concern over coronavirus 2019, also known as COVID-19, due to media reports about a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory. Maricopa County Department of Public Health has assured us there are 0 cases of COVID-19 in our community, and overall risk to the public remains low. Although there is no confirmed community spread in the U.S., experts predict there could eventually be community spread.
Here are some facts that families should know about COVID-19:
- It is a new coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China, that causes respiratory illness ranging from mild cold-like symptoms to pneumonia.
- 81% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in China had mild symptoms.
- Similar to influenza, those most likely to have severe complications from COVID-19 are people over 60 and those with medical conditions such as heart and lung disease or diabetes.
- There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19.
- People most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within six feet) with someone who has the disease.
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
COVID-19 is believed to spread the same way the common cold or flu spreads - through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes. Flu activity typically peaks during this time and Mesa Public Schools takes great care to ensure that all school and office buildings are cleaned effectively. Staff have been directed to give extra attention to high-touch areas, such as door handles, water fountains and keyboards. Staff also encourage children to wash hands regularly to prevent the spread of illness.
Guidance for staff and students continues to be that they should stay home if they are sick. Children and adults are recommended to stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of fever without using acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This reduces the number of people who may get infected.
Because protection from all respiratory viruses is similar, this is a good time to review strategies we can use for prevention:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, and keep sick children home as well.
- Cover your cough or sneeze, then immediately discard any tissues.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
We continue to stay in touch with our county and state health agencies to ensure that we share timely, accurate information with the community. We will keep you updated with any developments that could impact our families or schools. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit the Maricopa County Department of Public Health website, www.maricopa.gov/coronavirus.
Facts about communicable disease prevention and preparation
- Mesa Public Schools has a planned response for communicable diseases that focuses on prevention and preparation. Our response is guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Individual protection includes taking the same precautions as we do for all respiratory viruses, such as colds and the flu:
- wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discard it immediately
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth throughout the day
- stay home if you are sick, and keep children home if they are sick
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- School- and district-level prevention includes a heightened awareness of "high-touch" surface cleaning.
- door handles
- light-switch areas
- elevator buttons
- restroom surfaces
- school bus handles and seats
- Mesa Public Schools is in regular communication with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, the two organizations that monitor our state for the spread of communicable diseases. They will advise us regarding any outbreak developments in Arizona.
- Our health offices will monitor students and staff for known symptoms and will be sending home students and staff members who exhibit these symptoms.
- If a communicable diseases outbreak occurs, the district will report it to the county health department and will work in consultation with the director to determine which protocol steps to enact.
- We will provide you with any new information about communicable diseases through school newsletters, the phone notification system or the district website.