Corona Virus Pandemic Preparation
Purpose of Communication:
There has been at least one confirmed case of a community spread (origin unknown) in California and now a local case in Santa Clara County. It is therefore a valid concern of a local impact.
“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County and director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, said in a statement. “I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease.” Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/fda-reports-1st-drug-shortage-due-coronavirus-outbreak/story?id=69276490 . Published February 28, 2020, 7:04 PM.
What is currently known as of 2/28/20:
Reports from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) have said that while children have been infected, they have been the group least impacted—with the lowest infection and symptoms. Those who are seniors or have compromised immune systems have the highest threat to their health such as sepsis and death. The CDC currently recommends the same precautionary methods for this as any flu season: limit unnecessary exposure to public places and events, stay home if you have ANY symptoms of a cold or flu, and wash hands properly (at least 20 seconds of soap/water rubbing). As of now, the COVID-19 test kits are not available to medical clinics and hospitals (just government health facilities).
Current Health Certifications for Avalon:
Avalon employees are certified in pediatric and adult CPR and First-Aid, Preventative Health Practices (injury, illness, sanitation, nutrition, and more), and pesticide management (cleaning and prevention of biological / bacterial entities) by the State of California. One of the reasons I have kept my license at small capacity is to offer a healthier environment that limits exposure while little ones are still developing their immune systems. I am also a participant in the 4Cs nutritional food program. The state and local government has my contact information as a childcare facility to notify me of any mandated closures as well as requiring me to report any incidents of an epidemic nature (same severe symptoms occurring in two or more children simultaneously).
Current Health Practices of Avalon:
The current policy in place is that children are isolated and sent home immediately, with a required absence the next day, for any cold/flu symptoms: fever (99.0+) by temporal scanner thermometer, lethargy, severe runny nose* or congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, consistent coughing and sneezing*.
*For coughing, sneezing, and a clear running nose: some children are very good at covering their coughs/sneezes and properly blowing/wiping their nose while others are not (I’ve seen a child sneeze a glob onto a play table and start smearing it in before casually walking off and immediately coughing in another child’s face!). The teachers will use their own discretion to determine if a child needs to be sent home.
Personal bedding and stuffed animals* are washed once a week. Play-doh* is changed out once a month. If a fever has been identified, stuffed animals and costumes are isolated and washed immediately and play-doh is thrown away. Bathrooms, booster seats (for table), toys, play equipment, and door knobs/handles are disinfected at close of business daily. All facility areas are cleaned daily. The two air purifiers run on auto all day and night to filter out bacteria and viruses.
Children wash hands with anti-bacterial soap and count to 10 (supervised) to rub soapy hands together and then another 10 seconds of a rubbing rinse during the following times: immediately coming in from outside, after using the toilet or changing pull-ups/diapers, before eating, after eating, if seen putting a finger or hand in their mouth/nose, and after blowing/wiping their nose with a tissue or sneezing/coughing into their hand.
COVID-19 local action plan:
The current plan is based on the following information:
(1) As of 2/28/20, there has been one confirmed COVID-19 community spread (origin unknown) case in California, and two additional cases—one of them being in Santa Clara County.
(2) As of 2/28/20, there have been no local (county) or state school or childcare facility mandated closures.
Starting on Monday, 3/2/20:
(1) Once a fever has been identified, your child may not return to school until one of the below has occurred:
(1.a.) A signed note from a doctor on official letterhead determining the exam shows a non-contagious cause of fever (e.g. an ear infection). Child may return 24-hours after the fever has ended.
(1.b.) A signed note from a doctor on official letterhead saying an influenza test came back positive and that Tamiflu was administered. Child may return 24-hours after administration if no other severe symptoms are present.
(1.c.) Your child may return to school after two days (with a mandatory 24 hours wait after fever is over) without a doctor’s note only if no symptoms (moderate to severe coughing/sneezing/runny nose/lethargy) are present. If any such symptoms—severity determined at teacher’s discretion— becomes present upon return, even with no fever, your child must be immediately picked up and stay at home for the next day, returning only once symptoms are no longer present.
“Best-Case Scenario”: These preliminary measures will help prevent the spread of contagions and is the “best case” scenario to protect all of us from spreading a potentially deadly virus.
“Worst-Case Scenario”: If local schools close due to COVID-19, Avalon does not plan on closing; however, I will change ‘1.c.’ above to require a mandatory three-day absence due to fever and a doctor’s note of a physical exam to confirm no symptoms of any illness are present before they can return.
As I mentioned, these are preliminary measures that may change as the situation unfolds. The CDC said they are not sure if the warmer weather will help control the spread like it does for other flu viruses.
The CDC also recommends limiting exposure to public places and events, setting up contingency plans for working from home, and stocking up on basic supplies in order to limit contact in public places. I already have a week’s worth of emergency water, food, and supplies on hand for my family and all preschoolers. MOST IMPORTANTLY: wash hands by using soap and rubbing for 20-30 seconds before rinsing with water and stay home if you are sick.
Please never hesitate to call, text, or email me with concerns or questions.