In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidance on how to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-2019, commonly known as Coronavirus, with special emphasis on measures that schools can take to protect students and staff.
The New Jersey Department of Education has created a special resource page for schools here.
The New Jersey Department of Health has similar information here.
We urge all NJEA members, and everyone in New Jersey’s public schools to prioritize the health of your students, your colleagues and yourself while this threat exists.
Most critically, if you are sick or have any reason to believe you could have been exposed, please stay home. Urge your colleagues and students to do the same.Obviously, this situation is fluid and subject to change. The takeaway right now is that we should take steps to become informed and plan for the possibility of an outbreak in order to limit exposure and reduce the number of possible cases.
Below is the guidance that we have taken from the CDC. We urge all NJEA members and others in our public schools to follow it carefully:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Stay home when you are sick. Do not return to work until you are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. acetaminophen, cough suppressants, etc.).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. CDC Handwashing Instructions
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Your district should be giving you clear guidance about this issue as well. Should you have any questions regarding information or directives from your district, or any concerns about the consequences of your decision to stay home as a result of following the CDC’s guidance, please contact your UniServ rep.