March 2, 2020

Dear SGWS Families,

As our daily newsfeeds are filled with information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), we also want to minimize fear and worry for our students- allowing them to see the world as a good and safe place. We do not want to be alarmist, or create an anxiety-inducing atmosphere for our students. Having said that, we want parents to be aware of the safety protocols we have in place. 
 
SGWS administration is carefully monitoring the status of COVID-19 with support and guidance from the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, Summit County Public Health, and our contracted health service, PSI. 

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the U.S. is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions.

We will continue to keep our families updated as information evolves. 

Transmission:
The most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic hygiene practices such as:
  • Enforcing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly (20 seconds or more) and covering up coughs/sneezes;
  • Following our Illness and Injury Policy, keeping children with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea home until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours without any medication;
  • Our cleaning crew has increased cleaning efforts for high touch surfaces.

Best Practices:
We are prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation warrant. 
  • We are currently working with AWSNA, regional schools, and faculty to discuss best practices for distance learning and curriculum should our school require closure.
  • This plan will include consideration of state requirements for distance learning so as to minimize the need for make-up days.
  • We will communicate any changes affirmatively if and when the time is appropriate. 
 
Absenteeism:
  • Please take a moment to read our current absentee protocol. As a reminder, an excused absence requires a written note from the parent as to the reason of the absence. (Read our Student Attendance Policy on page 28 of our Parent Handbook);
  • Absenteeism will continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis with considerations for reduced transmission precautions;
  • Absenteeism will not be affected if there is a school-wide shutdown.

Talking About Coronavirus with Children
  • Click here to read a recent NYT article for talking with children about the virus;
  • Remind the children that there are many people working together to help and they can do their part by maintaining good hygiene through hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes.

It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like novel coronavirus is a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. 

We are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of our community as we meet this challenge.
 
Sincerely,
Tracy Edwards
Director of Administration
Spring Garden Waldorf School | www.sgws.org