February 27, 2020
Dear Parents & Guardians,
I attended a meeting today about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,
along with other school superintendents in our county, with Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Commissioner of Health for Nassau County and an infectious disease specialist. Even though there are only a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and none so far in New York, health officials at the county, state and federal level are in a high state of vigilance.
The Commissioner was very forthcoming as he described what is known about the disease and the preparatory measures that are being taken to address it. While other countries are calling for stringent measures to control the spread of the virus, including enforced social isolation and widespread closures, Dr. Eisenstein reminded us that such steps are nowhere near necessary in any part of the United States at this point. If such steps are in fact called for in the future, those decisions will be recommended on a regional basis by health authorities.
There are no specific recommendations for schools right now, other than to continue common-sense personal hygiene measures: frequent and thorough hand washing; covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently handled; and - we can't emphasize this one enough -
staying home when you are sick. Since we are still at the height of flu and cold season, this is good advice to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses. In addition, our custodial staff is diligently disinfecting our buildings by following state health standards, and checking dispensers for hand soap and hand sanitizer to ensure that they are filled at all times.
If the virus does appear in our area, we will follow the recommendations of health officials, and keep you informed of any developments that affect our schools directly. All of the emergency planning and training that we've done over many years will serve us well in the event of an actual health emergency, and I feel confident that we are prepared to take any steps necessary.
In the meantime, you can find up-to-date information about COVID-19 on these websites:
New York State has also created a Coronavirus Hotline:
We're aware that children may feel uncomfortable about what they are hearing, and I am always concerned about our students' well-being. Please feel free to reach out to a school counselor, psychologist or social worker who are available to them at all times.
We'll be posting notices like these around our schools as a reminder to practice good hygiene: