Mrs. Kris Wiemann
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Since we will hopefully be returning to in-person learning soon, I wanted to make you aware of the policy for sending sick students home during the pandemic. Per Maricopa County Health Department, we have been instructed that any child that is displaying any ONE of the following symptoms should be sent home, unless it can be associated with a known health condition:
Fever (temperature over 100.4), Chills, Cough, Congestion or runny nose, Fatigue (unusual), Muscle Aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea.
As you can see, this is a long list, and almost all of these are all symptoms that we see children for every day. Unfortunately, they can all be symptoms of COVID-19, and we are required to treat a student with any of these symptoms as if they have COVID. We know that this is going to potentially cause a great deal of inconvenience for our families, but we have to do this to limit the spread of this horrible virus and to keep our students and staff safe at this time. If your child is sent home, you have 3 ways to handle this: 1) You can keep your child at home for at least 10 days 2) You can take them to the Dr and get a COVID test. You will need to keep the child home until test results are back, then provide us with a copy of the negative results. 3) Take your child to the Dr, and if they prescribe antibiotics and give you a note with a diagnosis on it, your child may return to school with the note 24 hours after starting the antibiotic. If there is no doctor's note and no antibiotics given, you will need to observe the 10 day absence or have proof of a negative COVID test for your child.
I will be sending home a form for you to fill out to update your contact information and emergency contacts for your child. An emergency contact needs to be someone that can pick your child up from school. Please provide 3 contacts in case your child becomes ill and we are unable to contact you. To update your information, please provide us with all information that you can: cell phone, home phone if you have one, AND work phone. We will avoid calling the work number if at all possible, as we know that can cause problems with your employer, but we need as much information as we can get. If you have a job where you can't have your phone with you, we have to have a way to reach you. If we have a student that is injured or sick enough to need to go to the hospital, and we can't reach the parent or don't have emergency contacts with updated numbers, it is really scary for both your child and for us. We have had this happen! Also, please mark down your choice of contact methods for non-emergent issues.
So what can you do to help your child stay well?
Encourage your children to wash their hands often--after going outside, going to the store, using the restroom, and especially before eating. Discourage them from touching their face with dirty hands. When they wash their hands, make sure they are using soap, and washing them for at least 20 seconds, about the time it takes to sing the Alphabet song or to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Disinfect hard surfaces, lightswitches, doorknobs--anything that is touched often. DON'T FORGET PHONES, KEYBOARDS, AND GAME CONTROLLERS! These are actually dirtier than toilets, and should be disinfected on at least a daily basis. Don't spray disinfectant directly on electronics--spray on a paper towel or clean cloth and then wipe.
Encourage physical distancing with others. Sneezes, coughs, and even talking loudly or singing can cause germs to spray a good 6 feet, so this is the distance that should be maintained between people. Monitor those around you if they are coughing or sneezing, and remind them to cover their coughs and sneezes, or to cough and sneeze into their elbow or masks. If a tissue is used to blow a nose, make sure these are disposed of into the trash, and hands are washed afterwards. Encourage mask wearing when going to the store or playing with friends, and model this behavior yourself. Wash masks often if they are reusable. Masks have been proven to reduce the spread of airborne droplets, which is how COVID is spread. I don't think any of us like to wear masks--they are annoying! But they help keep you and others from getting sick, and if we want this situation to go away, we must ALL help. For some people COVID is like a cold, but for others, it can mean death. And there is no predicting who will be affected the worst.
Please explain to your children that all of this is important to help make sure that they don't get sick, and to make sure that people they love don't get sick. This is going to be even more important when they return to campus. And FYI--we won't be sending out parent letters for students that were sent home for possible COVID symptoms, but if we have a student that does test COVID positive, we will notify you.
Please call me if you have any questions! This has been a challenging time for everyone. Please remember that we are trying our very hardest to keep our students and coworkers as safe as we possibly can, and have patience with us during this time.
I have been an RN since 1984, when I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. I became a school nurse in January of 2017, so I am fairly new to the education system. I have worked in local hospitals, physician's offices, and most recently for a local hospice. I love working with your children--they make me smile every day!