March 5, 2020
Dear Gardner-Dickinson families,
In an effort to keep our students, employees and community well, Wynantskill UFSD is working closely with its health and safety consultant to monitor and distribute information released from the New York State Department of Health relating to the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The district is also working diligently to keep the facilities clean and its faculty, staff and students educated on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
Please see the following information from the NYS Department of Health:
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.
What do we know?
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found here.
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?
Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:
- CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website
- NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website
- NYSDOH directory of local health departments
- New York State Center for School Health website
We will continue to keep our community informed as guidance becomes available from the NYS Department of Health.
Dr. Thomas Reardon