3/5: District message regarding coronavirus

Melissa Fullerton
By Melissa Fullerton March 5, 2020 16:00

Hello Governor Mifflin families,

By now, I am sure you have seen a fair share of information regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). I am writing specifically to make you aware that our district has been closely following the reports and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and additional updates provided by the PA Department of Education. It is important to note that at the time of this email, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. However, I want to share this briefing with you so that you can stay informed of the facts, help alleviate fears within your own family, and join me in helping to maintain a productive conversation regarding the coronavirus. 

What is the Governor Mifflin staff doing?

Our staff leaders have launched a proactive response to the information regarding COVID-19 in a number of ways:

  • All Governor Mifflin staff: Our staff members take seriously their role in setting a strong example for our students. We have briefed our entire staff and provided them with resources to help them navigate student conversations or anxiety. We have also asked our staff to look for opportunities to teach students about the importance of vetting information and join us in a district-wide campaign to promote handwashing. In addition, our nursing staff is remaining vigilant and informed of all information and recommendations provided by the CDC.
  • Buildings & Grounds: Our custodial staff already employs a more aggressive disinfection process during the annual flu season. However, as an extra precaution, our second- and third-shift custodians are stepping up their efforts by using disinfecting products at a greater frequency on high-touch areas (desks, door knobs, etc…) This work includes the use of disinfecting sprayers for greater efficiency (which may require the use of additional personal protective equipment, such as eye protection and face masks). Please note, that when cleaning surfaces where children eat, our custodial staff follows all additional procedures to make the surface food safe.

    In the coming weeks, we also anticipate the addition of a microfiber cleaning system that has been proven to remove over 99% of bacteria from soiled surfaces when used in conjunction with a disinfectant. Our custodial staff will continue to review and adjust practices as needed.

  • Technology staff: Through Skyward, our technology team has developed a daily report specifically to monitor changes in attendance rate. This report will be automatically sent to our head custodians so that they can be among the first to see any spikes in absenteeism and allow them to be aware of any classrooms or areas with a higher absentee rate and direct disinfection efforts appropriately, if needed. At this time, we have not seen any concerning information from this report. It is simply an added layer of precaution.

What are we asking of our students?

We recognize that our students have an important role in keeping our community healthy and so we are asking them to assist in the following ways:

  • Hand washing: Good hand washing practices are important for our schools always. The CDC has continued to promote proper hand washing as a viable defense against the spread of the coronavirus. We will be adding posters to our restrooms and near sinks as a reminder of this important practice.
  • Clearing desks and surfaces: In an effort to help our custodial staff more efficiently disinfect our schools (as described above) we may be asking our students to help remove all items from their desks or tables and stack chairs at the end of each school day. This will make it easier for our custodians to do the important work of thoroughly cleaning surfaces during the evening.

What can you do at home?

We, as a school district, are always at our most successful when we work together with our families toward a common goal. For that reason, we kindly ask that you help us reinforce our work by considering the following:

  • Stop the spread of bad information: We know our students have the potential to be consuming a lot of information from traditional media outlets and social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Not all of this information may be factual. Talk to your child about the importance of seeking out information from trusted sources, like www.cdc.gov. Encourage your children to research and be aware of the root source of the information they choose to share, and ask them not to share harmful information via their own social media platforms. A simple rule of thumb is when in doubt, don’t share information!

  • Join us in promoting hand washing: Make proper hand washing a priority in your household. You can click here to download and print one of our district posters to post in your home.

  • If your child is sick, keep them at home: This is an area where common sense must prevail and we trust that our students and families would not take advantage of the current climate. We offer the following advice to our families:
    • If your child is experiencing flu-like symptoms or has been diagnosed with a contagious illness of any kind, please keep your child at home and follow the procedures outlined in the attendance section of your child’s school handbook or on each school homepage of our district website
    • If your child or someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, do not send your child to school. Please make us aware of this test result immediately.

We are prepared to reevaluate our actions and adjust our response as new information becomes available. For now, I thank you for reviewing this information and for your continued support in reassuring our students and sharing factual information within our community.

In gratitude,
Dr. Steve Gerhard
Superintendent, Governor Mifflin School District

Melissa Fullerton
By Melissa Fullerton March 5, 2020 16:00