SUPERINTENDENT'S MESSAGE -
Wayne Trace Local Schools is working closely with the Paulding County Health Department as we monitor the growing concern of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We are working diligently to create a plan in the event of a confirmed case at our school district. For daily updates, please visit one of the following websites:Paulding County Health DepartmentOhio Department of HealthCenter for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
We would like to remind everyone of the CDC's recommendations for preventing illness:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
We thank you for your patience and support as we continue to monitor the situation. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Provided by the Ohio Department of Education
1. What is coronavirus?
According to the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a respiratory virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. The CDC continues to consider the health risk from coronavirus to be low among the general public in the U.S. However, the virus continues to be an issue of concern internationally, and there is potential for increased person-to-person transmission to occur in this country.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, symptoms of coronavirus in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Coronavirus can be deadly, yet some confirmed patients have experienced only mild symptoms.
2. What guidance is the Ohio Department of Education providing to school and district leaders about how to plan for the coronavirus?
Ohio’s priority is to support the success of the whole child, which includes being attentive to students’ health and wellness. Locally, this means that school leaders make decisions that prioritize the health and safety of students.
With that priority focus in place, the Ohio Department of Education urges school and district leaders to consider the following practical action steps:
A: Stay current on the latest coronavirus information.
Make it your business to understand the latest coronavirus developments. The status of coronavirus is changing rapidly. Following are key resources you might want to check daily:
For the latest Ohio-specific developments, please visit the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus disease 2019 resources webpage.
For the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please visit the CDC coronavirus disease 2019 webpage.
Access additional resources regarding coronavirus and schools from the U.S. Department of Education.
Resources regarding coronavirus from the National School Boards Association also are available.
B: Review and update your school safety plans.
The Ohio Department of Education encourages school staff and administrators to use this opportunity to review their school safety plans. Each school building in Ohio is required to submit a safety plan that outlines procedures for emergency situations. As a best practice, safety plans also should incorporate hazards such as widespread flu and pandemic disease outbreaks.
Districts and schools should review carefully the “Response” section (section V), “Hazards/Threats” subsection (subsection C), “Medical: Pandemic” component of each building plan. Review of the “Recovery” section (section VI) also may be helpful, especially the “Continuity of Operations Plan” component.* As part of the emergency management plan, schools should have established procedures for determining when to close a school; how to communicate information to families, students, staff and the community about the closing; and procedures for decontaminating facilities if necessary.
Schools and districts should make all decisions in the best interest of the health and safety of students and the community.
*Section designations refer to the “Sample Safety Plan” template provided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
C: Refresh your relationship with your local health department and county emergency management agency (EMA).
As you review and update your safety plan, you might also check in with your local health department and county emergency management agency. It is always best practice to coordinate closely with your local, on-the-ground health and first responder experts.
To find your local health department, click here.
You can work with your county EMS team to ensure your response plan is up-to-date and enables an effective local response to coronavirus. For information about Ohio’s EMS, click here.
D: Ensure your key contact information is up to date and your local communication channels are ready to go.
As a component to your school safety plan, you can make sure your contact information for staff and students’ families is up to date.
Additionally, ensure your administrator contact information is current in OH|ID at the Ohio Department of Education.
Find more information about school safety plans on the Ohio School Safety Center’s webpage.
3. Will the Ohio Department of Education tell schools and districts they must close when certain criteria are met?
No. Individual school districts are empowered to work closely with their local departments of health to assess and understand the risk to their student populations and the community and make decisions accordingly. The Ohio Department of Education emphasizes that districts always should keep the safety and health of students and the community at the forefront of all decision-making.
4. If schools are closed for several weeks, are there plans in place to ensure students continue to learn?
Each school building in Ohio is required to submit a safety plan that outlines procedures for emergency situations. As a best practice, safety plans should incorporate guidelines for addressing hazards such as widespread flu and pandemic disease outbreaks, as well as plans for continuity of operations in the case of long-term closures. For more information on school schedules, click here.
5. Will the amount of required instructional time for the school year be reduced if schools are closed for an extended period of time?
The most important question for schools and districts to consider is, “What do we need to do to keep the students and community safe?” Any concerns about instructional time can and will be addressed, if necessary, after student health and safety has been assured. For more information on school schedules, click here.
6. What if schools must close during state testing? How will that be handled?
The most important question for schools to consider is, “What do we need to do to keep our students and communities safe?” Any concerns about the administration of state assessments can and will be addressed, if necessary, after student health and safety have been assured. At this point, the spring test administration remains on schedule. The Department will communicate any updates if those plans change.
7. Will school staff be monitoring students for signs of coronavirus?
Teachers and school staff should follow best practices as outlined by the Ohio Department of Health for preventing the spread of illness. School nurses also have received additional guidance regarding coronavirus from the Ohio Department of Health.
8. Are there instructional materials for teachers and school staff on how to reduce risk for themselves, their students and others?
Yes, the Ohio Department of Education, along with the Ohio Department of Health in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, has communicated information to schools and school nurses about best practices to reduce the spread of illness. These practices should be promoted, encouraged and followed to provide the safest, healthiest atmosphere for students and staff alike. Again, schools should work closely with local departments of health as well as students and families to make sure anyone with symptoms stays home and receives appropriate treatment and testing.
For the latest developments, please visit the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus disease 2019 resources webpage.
9. Should schools consider disinfecting facilities as a preventative measure?
Schools and local departments of health should work together to provide the safest and healthiest atmosphere for students and staff alike. In the sample school safety plan provided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, schools are encouraged to have plans in place for disinfecting facilities if needed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers guidance on cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants for use in childcare settings.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control provides resources for cleaning and disinfecting facilities.
10. Who will determine when it is safe to reopen schools if schools must close because coronavirus reaches a community, but new infections decline?
Should any Ohio schools or districts close as a result of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, the local school districts will make the determination about when to reopen, working in consultation with local departments of health and with input from state and federal health experts.