Dare County Schools on coronavirus: Risk is low, but wash your hands

Illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

With coronavirus in the news, Dare County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly said he’s closely  monitoring updates on the illness and is in regular contact with Dr. Sheila Davies, director of the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services. 

“While the CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the general American public is considered low at this time,” Farrelly wrote in a note home to parents and caregivers.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina and the United States “is not reporting a coronavirus pandemic.”

But the school district is offering some best practices to keep kids well, including:

  1. Washing hands often under clean, running water for 30 seconds can help prevent the spread of germs. For more guidance see the CDC: When and How to Wash Your Hands. If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol.
  2. Encouraging sneezing/coughing into elbows, and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.  Germs spread this way.
  3. Stakeholders should stay home when they are sick. This will help prevent others from catching an illness. 
  4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
  6. Getting enough rest.

Resources: There are many resources available to help schools and families to understand the current situation regarding the virus, including the following:

Coronavirus Information:
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is providing regular updates and has information readily available about the virus:  
U.S. State Department issues advisories for travel and currently has issued Level 4 advisories (do not travel) for China and the Hubei province, which includes Wuhan.

For Parents – Talking with Children:
Healthline has published How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus
Psychology Today has published How to Talk to Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus.North Carolina Updates:
For NC updates go to:  www.ncdhhs.gov

“Our hope is that the above resources and information are useful to you while also assuring you that we are monitoring the situation closely,” Farrelly wrote. “Our school nurses are available for questions and support as is the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services. We will continue to provide updates and ongoing information. Thank you for your patience, cooperation and support as we work together for the health and safety of our community.”