Dear Harley community,
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has made its way to the United States; in New York State a case has been confirmed in Manhattan, and in Toronto there are about a dozen. I wanted to provide you with information about what Harley is doing to prevent the spread of illness at our school, and our planning in case the coronavirus spreads in our community.
The CDC has emphasized that currently there is no coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the U.S. is still quite small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.
Preventing the spread of germs and infection
We are asking—firmly!—that all students, faculty, and staff who feel ill, including having a fever within 24 hours, stay home until they recover
At morning meetings, faculty are reminding students to: wash hands before eating, and also before and after use of communal electronics; to sneeze and cough into tissues; to wash hands or use Purell after blowing nose and to discard tissues into the trash immediately after use; and to avoid touching their face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth
We will be providing each classroom with disinfecting wipes/sprays to be used as needed throughout the day
Our cleaning staff sanitizes classroom surfaces daily
We have added extra cleaning throughout the day and in the evening, including sanitizing door handles and cleaning all surfaces thoroughly
If students are home sick, or are sent home sick, the school nurse will follow up with parents/guardians as to the nature of their illness. We are counting on parents/guardians to partner with us by keeping sick children at home until they have been fever- and symptom-free for at least 24 hours. We will send children home if they exhibit signs of illness including excessive coughing, sneezing, or fever. This is a good reminder to make sure your family has a plan in place should your child need to be home sick.
We hope it won’t come to this, but we are being proactive in our contingency planning, should there be any need for short-term closures or limited school access. We are thinking ahead regarding upcoming school trips and other activities, distance learning, and plans for our international students during the summer months. Additionally, we are convening a team of faculty, IT staff, and administrators to recommend the best learning methods to utilize in the event of a mandated closure.
We will remain in close contact with the CDC, NY State Department of Health, the Monroe County Department of Health, and monitor the situation daily with updates from experts in the field, consulting with peer schools, and through our professional networks and organizations.
Here are resources with helpful information to review:
Monroe County Department of Health information on Coronavirus
New York State Department of Health information on Coronavirus
New York Times Parenting, “What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus”
We’re hoping for the best, of course, but it’s important to plan for any eventuality. We will stay in touch if we have further news to share. Thank you for your cooperation and support on this important issue as we work together for the health of our community.
PS Stay well!