The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 (coronavirus) a pandemic, and North Carolina is now in a state of emergency as universities across the state are closing. In light of this, local school districts are making adjustments to cope.
Chapel Hill Carrboro-City Schools sent a letter to parents Tuesday night to say the district is canceling all school-sponsored out-of-state travel for students and staff and evaluating in-state trips on a case-by-case basis. The letter said the district is also prohibiting out-of-state visitors to schools.
“COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to permeate our community conversation,” the letter said. “It is a serious matter, and brings with it very serious consequences, to our health, our schools, our economy, and our way of life.”
OCS is suspending all district-sponsored trips and events for staff and students, and usage of facilities for all outside groups, according to a letter from Monique Felder, superintendent for Orange County Schools. The letter said OCS is requesting families not travel to places deemed high-risk areas by the Centers for Disease Control, and those who do may be asked to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.
Both letters said additional preparation from the districts includes placing mobile hand-sanitizing stations throughout schools and frequently cleaning common surfaces such as faucets, water fountains, doorknobs and school buses.
Staff will be asked to avoid other contact with people as much as possible, and students exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not be placed on school buses at the end of the school day, according to the CHCCS letter.
Jeff Nash, executive director of community relations for CHCCS, said field trips and sporting events are still happening. He said while the daily schedule of teachers and students has not changed, the central office is taking preparation seriously.
“(It’s a) lot of conference calls, talking to people from the health department, local emergency folks, we’re doing a lot of planning and prep stuff, but at the school level, it’s a regular school day,” he said.
Nash said CHCCS restricted international travel a few weeks ago.