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Memo: Rowan-Salisbury Schools monitoring coronavirus

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Rowan-Salisbury Schools distributed a message from Superintendent Lynn Moody Thursday morning to update families on how the district is handling the virus.

“Because of how fast news is being released and shared, I want you to have the facts and to know what we are doing from a school district’s position to address the rising concerns and uncertainties,” the message states. “We have several wheels in motion as I write these words to you.”

The message said the district is participating in weekly meetings led by Rowan County Health Department and is also receiving updates from state and federal authorities.

“We follow the lead of our local and state health department officials,” Moody said in her memo. “They are the professional experts and we are fortunate to maintain open and supportive relationships with them.”

The message said the district is monitoring absenteeism in schools as a means to identify where sickness could be a concern, the district has a safety protocol for emergencies and has supplies to keep areas sanitized and “control the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.”

In a statement provided to the Post, the district said there are many reasons for staff and students absences. Unusual patterns of increasing numbers of absences would cause the district to research possible reasons for increased numbers.

Moody’s memo said it is too early to decide if schools will need to close to prevent the spread of the virus, but the district can close schools for emergencies “just as we follow safety measures during inclement weather.”

The first case of the virus in North Carolina, COVID-19, was diagnosed in Wake County on Wednesday in Wake County.

The district has coronavirus page on the student services and counseling section of its website with links to health organizations.

The N.C. Division of Public Health’s recommendations to prevent the spread of disease include:

  • Wash hand frequently with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill and stay home if you are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

The virus originated in China, causes flu-like symptoms and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Fever, cough and shortness of breath can begin anywhere from 2 to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus.

There is no vaccine for the disease yet, and according to the CDC the limited number of outcomes reported from China “suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon.”

The state is capable of testing patients for the disease, according to the NCDHHS website, if an individual meets criteria for testing that person is given a Patient Under Investigation number.

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