We understand that the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China may be prompting questions and concerns in our schools. To date there have been 6 confirmed cases in California; at this time there are no confirmed cases in Ventura County and the risk to the public in Ventura County is considered to be low.
In all California cases, the people infected had a direct link to Wuhan, China. Anyone who has traveled recently to Wuhan, China should contact their healthcare provider.
Ventura County Public Health officials say there is currently no need for the general public to take special precautions or alter regular activities due to the novel coronavirus. They do point out that we are currently at the height of the flu season and encourage everyone to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases:
- Get vaccinated every year
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Frequent hand-washing with soap
- Stay at home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional
- Note: masks are currently not recommended at this time
General School public health guidelines for novel coronavirus:
Students should not be excluded from school or any activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel (including travel to Wuhan, China).
Students who traveled to Wuhan, China should only be excluded if they have symptoms of respiratory illness (see below).
General School public health guidelines for identifying symptoms:
If the student has:
- Fever (Temperature >100.4° F or >38°C) or
- Associated Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
Then: Follow general guidelines for when to send a student home based upon symptoms. Staff attending to any ill student with symptoms should use standard precautions – mask, gloves and hand washing. If the student has fever and symptoms AND has traveled to Wuhan, China:
- Immediately isolate the student and place surgical mask on the student.
- Notify school nurse.
- The school nurse or designee should contact parent to verify travel to Wuhan, China region and inform parent public health department will be contacted immediately.
- School nurse will call Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) – Communicable Disease Office for next steps (805) 981-5201 for after hours (805) 214-7057.
- VC Public Health will advise how to transport student to the hospital
- Parent may be advised to pick up student and transport to the hospital
General reminders for schools:
- For any general illness, emphasize hand washing and staying home if sick.
- Students should stay home until fever free for 24 hours.
- Student health information, including infectious disease, is confidential and not to be shared with other students or staff as per FERPA
- Confidential health information, including infectious disease, can be shared with VC Public Health as per Health and Safety Code laws.
- Do not send out disease notification letters to students, parents or staff unless directed by VC Public Health.
- Flu is still circulating, and this season’s flu cases are more prevalent among children, so schools may be experiencing high levels of illness.
- It’s not too late for students and families to be immunized for the flu.
- Masks for Staff and Students are not recommended at this time. Masks are not an effective method of general prevention. Hand washing provides better protection from infectious diseases.
- Schools can play an important role in educating students, parents and staff by providing factual information on the coronavirus. Answers to frequently asked questions about the virus are available at Centers for Disease Control website.