Greetings Dearborn Community,
Typically, national and world events are only a small part of our daily dialogue but on occasion they can grow to a point where they consume and dominate our conversation. This is the current status regarding the discussions taking place about COVID-19, or more commonly known as the coronavirus.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as of February 28, 2020 there were five people tested in the state of Michigan (3-Washtenaw, 1-Macomb, 1-Oakland) for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and fortunately results showed that none of the five tested had the virus.
There are many news stories, articles, and websites providing information about this new strain of the flu virus and it is vitally important for all of us to keep focused on accurate information. Several articles indicate that more people may be infected by this virus but there are no forecasts on how many, where, or for how long this will continue.
As state, county, and local government agencies begin to formulate plans to address the possibility of a potential widespread outbreak, our administrative team has also been monitoring developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). We have been in contact with a variety of educational organizations such as the Michigan Department of Education, Wayne RESA (our local Intermediate School District), Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA), and others in developing protocols and procedures that would aid in preparing our district in the event of a widespread outbreak in our community.
We are also closely following the medical recommendations from health care professionals such as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Health, and the Wayne County Health Department. These sources remain the best place for the most accurate information regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are also very fortunate to have nurses on our staff who have a professional relationship with these organizations and can provide us with timely information.
While the CDC has not yet provided formal guidance for schools on how to prepare for a potential community outbreak, the State of Michigan, Wayne County Health Department and other local health departments have emergency preparedness systems ready to be activated if an outbreak occurs in Michigan. Our own staff has been in contact with the City of Dearborn’s Emergency Manager to ensure we are able to coordinate efforts if needed. Also, we are talking with our cleaning supply vendors in order to make sure we are using recommended products and methods to keep schools clean and safe.
As we have done in the past, when other flu related illness was a concern, it is important to remind everyone that the CDC recommends following these simple but very effective methods to limit the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Always thoroughly wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
- When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer to wash hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cloth when sneezing and/or coughing.
- Stay home when you are sick. (This is a good habit to follow for any illness but even more important given the unknowns surrounding COVID-19)
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
If you are planning to travel overseas it is important to stay up to date on any travel advisories issued by the federal government and consider postponing travel in areas of concern. Additional information is available on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website including a downloadable fact sheet in English and Arabic. Information is also available on the CDC website.
The spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a serious topic that needs to be closely monitored and requires all of us to stay informed. We all need to show restraint in sharing any unsubstantiated reports on social media or other internet outlets. Creating unnecessary panic by spreading rumors will only create more fear in our community. Our schools, our city, and our community will need to continue to stay informed as we work together to keep all of us safe and healthy.
Glenn M. Maleyko, Ph.D.