Stephens County School System urges home rest for sick students, hand-washing and hygiene for others
Updated: Mar 9
Stephens County School System is taking precautions recommended by local, state and federal health officials to safeguard students, faculty and staff against COVID-19.
Late last week, Deputy Superintendent Daniel Oldham told ConnectLocal.News that the school system is following local, state and federal recommendations regarding precautions against COVID-19, the rapid-spread disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2.
Extra supplies of cleaning materials to keep door handles and other commonly-touched locations are being distributed to the schools and to make sure bathrooms are constantly stocked with hand soap, and all faucets are in working order, Oldham said, adding that plans are being put in place to increase the monitoring of bathrooms to make sure they remain stocked.
“We met with local health officials yesterday to cover ‘best practices,” Oldham said. “We are trying to do a lot of preventative measures, and we are educating our teachers. It’s really just trying to addressing it in the same way we address the flu, because it is transmitted in the same way, but going above and beyond with those common places that people touch.”
Oldham said that the school encourages the use of hand sanitizer, but says that it is a secondary measure behind actually washing your hands as recommended by the CDC.
“Even though they (the CDC) is not saying that hand sanitizer doesn’t work, they’re not saying it does, either,” Oldham said. “We know that soap works, we know that Clorox works, we know that Lysol works, so we’re just following the best plans and information sent out by the CDC.
In addition to advocating hand washing and urging people to not touch their face, Oldham said limiting close exposure to other individuals is important. “So we’re letting everyone know that its not a good time for everyone to be doing a lot of high fives,” he said. Health officials have recommended fist bumps, elbow bumps, or, as a best practice, non-physical greetings while concerns over the virus continue.
For teachers, staff and students who feel sick, or parents of sick students, Oldham stressed the importance of home rest and not attending school.
While we value every teacher and every administrator and every kid being here giving 100 percent, if they come, and they make 10 other people sick, then them being here actually has a negative effect on the whole school, he said. We would rather them stay home and come back when they feel better.”
Parents are strongly urged to keep home children who are exhibiting a fever.
“Sometimes, I they give them Tylenol and the fever goes down and they send them to school, and I understand wanting to keep your kids in school, you don't want them to miss any days, but if they are running a fever, have them stay home, give them the medicine they need, and let them rest,” he said.
“There is not a single day that can’t be made up, that we cant facilitate the student catching up,” he promised. “We want our teachers to come to school; we want our students to come to school – but we don't want them to come to school sick.”
Students who are worried, or are experiencing stress and distraction because of the news about the virus are encouraged to talk to school personnel if they feel the need.
“They can always talk to the nursing staff, the counseling staff, and there is enough information we have provided to our teachers that they can talk to their teacher too, to keep their concerns at ease,” he said.
Stephens County School District has added information and links on a dedicated section of the school system web page to help students and parents better understand the COVID-19 disease and how to take precautions against it.
The Environmental Protection Agency released a list of disinfectant products approved for use against COVID-19 on surfaces, including multiple products from brand such as Clorox and Lysol. Some of the specific products include Clorox toilet cleaner with bleach, Clorox disinfecting spray, Lysol disinfectant max cover mist, Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, and Lysol multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant spray.
An EPA spokesperson said the companies had to demonstrate their products are effective against viruses that are even "harder-to-kill" than the novel coronavirus. They also noted that any products without an EPA registration number haven't been reviewed by the agency.
EPA does not review other household products, such as vinegar, or whether they're effective against viruses and bacteria, the spokesperson said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the best option to keep your hands free of germs that could spread to surfaces or your face is by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also reduce the number of germs on your hands to a lesser extent, but CDC said products that are alcohol-free or have a lower percentage of alcohol are not as effective