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Coronavirus Update for March 9, 2020

Joint Statement from LBUSD and the Teachers Association of Long Beach

The Long Beach Unified School District continues to monitor the local, state and national status of the new coronavirus and remains in close communication with various health agencies to provide resources to school communities and keep them updated.

As LBUSD reported last week, the City of Long Beach (and a number of other California cities) have declared a “local state of emergency.”  The term “local state of emergency” applies to the process that the City of Long Beach has engaged in to unlock the financial resources that will be helpful to prepare the city for steps that are deemed necessary.  This term does not mean that the local population is more at-risk than before, but rather that officials want to be more prepared as they continue to monitor this situation.

LBUSD has long-established relationships with local, regional and state health care agencies including Long Beach Health and Human Services.  The school district has worked closely with these agencies in the past when concerns have arisen regarding various infectious diseases.  During times like these, decisions are made upon the advice of the health experts in these partnering agencies.  School district officials remain in daily communication with these partnering organizations, and LBUSD continues to offer a coronavirus web page with preventive advice, updates and links to our various health organizations for the latest information.

Some schools elsewhere in California have temporarily closed as a precaution to allow for a necessary pause and deep cleaning of the school in instances where students or staff may have had contact with the coronavirus.  This scenario for individual schools is possible in LBUSD and elsewhere depending on how the coronavirus situation unfolds.  Unless otherwise indicated, however, the school district remains in operation.  We are also taking several precautionary steps:

  • Custodial staff will disinfect on a daily basis all “high touch” areas in schools that could contribute to the spread of illness.  These areas include door handles, door plates, counter tops, flat surfaces and student desks. 
  • Staff will monitor restrooms several times daily to ensure that sufficient soap and hand towels are available for students and staff to wash their hands frequently.  The school district also is working to secure additional supplies of hand sanitizer.  While the use of hand sanitizer also is recommended, frequent hand washing with soap and water is more effective than the use of hand sanitizers in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
  • LBUSD is providing signage for each school site to post in central spaces reminding students, staff and community members of the recommended precautions about handwashing.  Samples of these “Germ-Free Zone” fliers are available and printable on the school district coronavirus web page.
  • Temperatures will continue to be checked for any student who visits the nurse’s office.  As a reminder: if students are sent home with a fever, they must be fever-free 24 hours before they return to school. 

Following are recommendations for staff, students and families to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and other infectious diseases:

  • Stay home when ill. This includes symptoms such as fever, cough/difficulty breathing and/or intestinal problems.  Stay home at least 24 hours after you are fever free. 
  • Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. 
  • Cough/sneeze into your sleeve (elbow) or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 

Adults can help by modeling calmness when explaining to children what the coronavirus is about.  Here is a helpful article: How to talk to children about the coronavirus.  Families also can help by making certain that students stay home when ill.  If you’re unsure about sending students back to school, please keep them at home, or call your doctor for advice.  Here’s a link to a helpful article on this topic: The 4 symptoms that mean your child must stay home from school.