This letter contains valuable public health information from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) regarding the 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The new Coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases are being diagnosed in a number of other countries, including the United States.
What do we know? Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how it spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible to better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. The CDC recommends avoiding travel to China at this time. Updated travel information can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china.
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread? Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person to person. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.
Prevention There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. I encourage you and your children to review and follow the NYSDOH recommendations to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.
Important Health Information for Those Who Have Recently Traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and Experience Symptoms If you recently traveled to Wuhan, China and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing; OR if you develop symptoms within 14 days of traveling there, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
- Contact your local health department.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions, please contact the Fulton County Public Health Department at (518) 736-5720 or the NYSDOH Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065. For additional information about 2019-nCoV and its treatment and prevention, visit the following websites: https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV; https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/; www.schoolhealthny.com; and https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/.
I want to assure you that the health and wellness of our students and staff continue to be a top priority of the district.
Dr. Karen Geelan
Superintendent of Schools