Coronavirus Update January 29

Dear APS Staff and Families:

Given recent news coverage of the Novel Coronavirus, we recognize that you may have concerns about the health of your student(s) and how Arlington Public Schools (APS) protects students from becoming ill.

APS shares these concerns and has consulted with the Arlington County Public Health Division (PHD) regarding their recommendations to prevent students from becoming ill in schools. The following steps are being taken based on PHD recommendations:

  • APS will continue to clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces frequently. The cleaning materials that are used meet the criteria recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for control of coronavirus.
  • APS will continue to reinforce the following effective behaviors in schools with students and employees:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
    • Cover mouth and hands with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
    • Stay home when sick – and only return to school when children and staff are symptom-free for 24 hours, including the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Keep their distance from people who are sick – and encourage sick people they encounter to go home and seek care as needed.
    • Avoid non-essential travel.

These practices are part of our standard procedures to promote healthy and safe environments, as outlined in the Policy Implementation Procedures (PIP), Support for Students- Wellness I-10.30 PIP-1.

To further protect all our students, our employees, and our community, we need your help to reinforce the messages above. Have your student(s) practice these behaviors at home – it will make it easier to follow these same recommendations in school.

APS will continue to work with PHD and the School Health Bureau as the situation evolves. This is a rapidly developing situation and as more information is shared about this virus, we will publish updated guidance as warranted.For up-to-date information about the virus, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

Cintia Z. Johnson
Interim Superintendent
Arlington Public Schools

Reuben K. Varghese, MD, MPH
Health Director and Arlington County Public Health Division Chief