West Virginia’s largest school system lays out coronavirus plan

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kanawha County or West Virginia yet, the state’s largest school system is taking precautions.Kanawha County Schools released its plan on Thursday for dealing with the COVID-19 virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, should it reach West Virginia. Officials from the school district said they are working closely with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) and it resulted in the guidelines.Dr. Ron Duerring, the Kanawha County Schools Superintendent told the media on Thursday that the district has the children’s best interests at heart, like always.“We’re doing everything to try and keep our buildings clean, wiping down surfaces, doing a little extra of that,” he said.“We’re working with our children to make sure they are washing their hands and doing the things they need to do to keep everyone safe.”The plan includes the regular cleaning and disinfecting of desks, computer keyboards, doorknobs, water fountains and other frequently touched surfaces within the schools. The cleaning is the same precautions the school has been doing during flu season, per release.Thorough handwashing for at least 20 seconds before meals, after using the restrooms and whenever hands are visibly dirty is being recommended by Dr. Brenda Issac, the Kanawha County Schools Lead Nurse.When soap and water are unavailable for hand washing, Issac recommends use hand sanitizer with 60 to 90 percent alcohol.
Brenda Isaac
“We’re telling parents to work with their kids,” she said. “Make sure they are doing good hand washing, make sure they know to keep their hands away from their face. We’re stepping up on wiping down surfaces.”The plan released a reminder of cough etiquette in written that tells everyone to always cover cough or sneeze, with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.The school system recommends that any child or staff member should avoid close contact with people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.“It’s their parental right to take them to the doctor or have them checked out and make sure it’s just the regular flu or something else,” Duerring said of children feeling ill before school.“If it is, just notify the school as always. It’s the same procedures we’ve had in place for years.”VIEW: Kanawha County Schools coronavirus planIssac said the symptoms of the coronavirus effect primarily the lungs and force a person to have coughing, respiratory issues and run a low-grade fever.If a student or school employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, they must stay home for the recommended 14-day period that they are considered to be contagious, per Kanawha County Schools.The plan further states that any suspected case should be immediately reported to the school nurse or the KCS Office of Health Services. The diagnosis will be confirmed with KCHD.Duerring said that if a student or employee has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, that school or office building will be closed for up to 3 days for a thorough cleaning. That’s different from when it comes to flu, where the KCHD recommends to stay open.The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been in contact with the KCHD on updated guidelines for schools. State Chief Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp said on Thursday the first possible coronavirus case sent from West Virginia to the CDC came back negative.Two more possible cases in the state are being tested by the CDC.

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