With over 125,000 coronavirus cases worldwide according to CNN, the global health emergency has been raising concerns, especially from students. There are currently 14 cases in North Texas, none of which are in Denton County. As of now the district has suspended all extracurriculars, and is asking students and teachers to stay home from school if they have traveled to high risk areas.
“The situation is fluid and we are receiving daily updates from our district leadership team,” principal Amy Boughton said. “In the future, if we were advised or needed to cancel school we would receive specific instructions from our Superintendent, Dr. [Kevin] Rogers, and the rest of his leadership team. Since we serve over 55,000 students, the decision on how we would serve our students would be very unified.”
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says the coronavirus can spread “between people who are in close contact with one another (within six feet).” The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, making flying difficult because about 50% of the air on planes is recycled.
“[Make sure to] wash your hands thoroughly and often; cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, and stay home when you are sick,” nurse Cissy Khan said. “The district has also communicated information to both staff, students and families about spring break travel.”
The CDC recommends using products with at least 70% alcohol to disinfect high-touch areas. Schools are being advised to continue their cleaning routine and continue to disinfect busy areas where germs could easily spread.
“Our custodians are wiping down railings, door handles, and other heavily populated areas,” Boughton said. “The LISD Director of Health Services, Mrs. Melanie Vincelette, provides each campus nurse with set procedures on how to handle students who may be exhibiting the Coronavirus [symptoms].”
According to a recent LISD parent and staff update, if a student or staff member was potentially exposed to the virus, they should self-quarantine for 14 days. After the quarantine, if students are not showing any symptoms of the virus they may return to school.
“On Monday after Spring Break, a parent/guardian would need to reach out to our attendance clerk, Mrs. Hill, to notify her of their self-quarantine,” Boughton said. “The absences will be excused, but documentation of travel will need to be provided.”
Governor Gregg Abbott declared the Coronavirus as a statewide health disaster. In an effort to keep the virus from spreading, Frisco, Lovejoy, Plano, McKinney and Prosper independent school districts have extended their students spring break until March 23.
“I have seen a lot of my peers post that they hope the Coronavirus extends [our] spring break; however, I would rather have normal length spring break and not have to play catch-up at school,” sophomore Olivia O’Brien said. “I hope that my classmates can follow the precautions so that we can all stay healthy. I wouldn’t want any of them to catch the virus.”