Earlier today, we sent the following message via email to all subscribers of our Electronic School Notification System. We will be following up with a voice message to families this evening. To access the Albemarle County Public Schools COVID-19 Plan and related resources, please visit our COVID-19 Management Plan web page.
Dear Members of Our School Communities:
The progress of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) throughout the world and across our country continues to be the subject of intense interest. Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is working closely with the Thomas Jefferson Health District of the Virginia Department of Health to monitor the latest information on COVID-19. While there are limited cases in Virginia at this time, we are continually reviewing and updating our pandemic response plan. Our COVID-19 management plan consists of a phased response to the latest developments, using increasingly more stringent measures to provide a clean and safe environment for students and staff.
We encourage you to stay informed by seeking accurate information from authoritative sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health. Also, the Thomas Jefferson Health District is operating a hotline (434-972-6261) to respond to any questions or concerns you may have regarding the latest COVID-19 information. The hotline is accepting calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Our plan is a dynamic one and will be revised as new information becomes available. It addresses the infection control measures we will take to maintain a clean and safe environment prior to and in the event of a local outbreak. In the event of an outbreak, we will follow the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health in determining if and when schools should be closed.
In schools and offices, our custodial crews are reviewing all disinfectant practices. We also are ensuring that we have adequate stock of supplies such as hand soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and antimicrobial surface disinfectants.
Teachers will be enforcing infection control measures with students including regular hand washing, respiratory etiquette, and reminders to students not to touch their nose, mouth or eyes.
Some schools have upcoming trips out of the state and country. We are suspending international field trips to countries that are highlighted on the CDC’s list as destinations at a watch or alert level for travelers. For other locations, we will monitor the evolving situation and official recommendations on travel restrictions, and we will decide on whether to cancel a trip closer to its departure date.
We expect staff and families who have traveled or will travel to countries where the CDC has enacted a level 3 travel warning (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) to follow CDC guidance about self-isolation and stay home for a period of 14 days upon returning home and also seek medical attention if you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you plan on traveling elsewhere—domestic or international—please take all possible precautions including staying up-to-date on the latest spread of the virus and considering difficulties you may encounter when returning home.
Personal infection control measures are very important in preventing and combating COVID-19, as well as all types of flu and influenza. We appreciate your cooperation and partnership in emphasizing the following measures at both home and school:
- Properly and frequently wash hands.
- Avoid touching nose, mouth and eyes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or one’s sleeve; follow with hand washing.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including adequate hydration and sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise, and refrain from smoking, including vaping, which puts individuals at higher risk for severe illness.
- Get an annual flu vaccine.
- Ensure you/your student are up-to-date with all recommended immunizations.
- Stay home and keep children home when sick.
Please ensure that your child’s school has your current contact information. We encourage you to plan in advance for the possible need to pick up your child in the event he or she becomes ill. Parents also should begin to plan for child care options should it become necessary to close schools for several days or longer.
We are fortunate to have so many outstanding medical professionals in our schools, a dedicated staff and parent community, and an outstanding partnership with our local health department. We will continue to use all of these resources to ensure our learning environments remain safe.
Chief Operating Officer