Coronavirus (COVID-19) Monitoring and Response
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization has named it "Coronavirus Disease 2019" (COVID-19). Symptoms may range from mild to severe and are similar to a cold or influenza. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The best way to keep people healthy is by stopping the spread of the virus through everyday practices like handwashing and staying home when sick. Additional preventative measures can be found here.
Who is at risk?
Of the current known cases, children appear to be the least at risk. Read information on the coronavirus in children here. Those most at risk are the elderly, immunocompromised, or adults with certain pre-existing conditions. More information on COVID-19, such as prevention, treatment, and how it is spread, is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
How is District 7 is prepared for COVID-19?
District 7 closely monitors and follows guidance from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local response planners and agencies, and the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDOE). In addition to maintaining close communication with these organizations, we work in tandem with our fellow Spartanburg County school districts. Our primary focus is to keep our students and our community safe while providing continuity of service to students.
In addition to the information in this special web section, District 7 will provide updates to our community as new information becomes available or as there are developments to the coronavirus’ impact within our school district.
Specific steps being taken by District 7 include:
- Postponing all out-of-state field trips and monitoring all other destinations to ensure students are not traveling to or through cities experiencing an outbreak (as defined by the CDC)
- Moitoring plans for large gatherings, particularly public events, and making decisions on a case-by-case basis
- Reviewing our emergency response plans with key personnel across schools and departments
- Monitoring the enrollment of new students and responding accordingly
- Reminding students and staff to limit physical contact, follow appropriate respiratory etiquette, and to regularly and thoroughly wash hands
- Reminding parents and employees that students or staff who have symptoms of a respiratory illness should not come to school or work
- Requesting that students who have a household member who has been recommended for home isolation not return to school until the isolation period has ended in their household
- Monitoring absenteeism and notifying local health officials about large increases in student or staff absences
- Strengthening procedures to isolate and send home students and staff who are sick at school as soon as symptoms present
- Enhancing existing cleaning and disinfecting processes and frequency
How will District 7 respond in the event of a local outbreak?
We will follow all available guidance provided by DHEC, the CDC and the SCDOE in addition to determining specific responses that may be appropriate and in the best interest of our students and staff. Such responses could include:
- Increased communication with families
- Coordinated student handwashing and enhanced screening of people with respiratory symptoms or potential exposure within our schools
- Further increasing the frequency and methods of cleaning hard surfaces such as doorknobs and desks
- Postponement or cancellation of extra-curricular events and after-school activities
- Closure of one or more schools with implementation of eLearning procedures and/or other methods of implementing academic instruction at home
Should a case of coronavirus be confirmed by DHEC among District 7 students, staff and families, we will immediately notify all employees and parents and provide recommendations and next steps. If the closure of one or more schools should become necessary, District 7 is prepared with our eLearning protocol and other approaches that will allow learning to continue in an academically appropriate manner. Maintaining our students’ educational experience will be a priority, particularly as this positive focus would provide important stress-relieving benefits during a time when they may feel anxious.
What can families do now to help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The partnership of our families is a critical component of District 7’s preparation and response to the potential spreading of coronavirus. Families are advised to remain informed and closely follow guidance from the CDC.
The most important role you can play at home is to insure all members of your household follow these everyday precautions. A brief summary of these includes:
- Stop germs by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things you can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
If a member of a students’ household has traveled in an area of outbreak, has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or is diagnosed themselves with coronavirus, District 7 urges you report this information to your child’s school immediately.
All students and staff who are experiencing illness – particularly fever, cough or shortness of breath – are asked to remain at home until their symptoms have cleared.