Update on Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers returning from Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) to the US after 5 pm on February 2, 2020, should remain at home for 14 days after their return date to the US. Therefore, APS students returning from Mainland China after the date above will not be allowed to attend school for 14 days. This will help us reduce the possible risk of coronavirus spread in our schools.

APS will provide support to any student who is unable to attend school by providing take-home educational materials. Please contact your child’s school to receive these materials by mail.

Based on Arlington County Public Health Division guidance, APS continues to take the following effective steps to prevent students and staff from becoming ill in schools:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces frequently with materials that meet the criteria recommended by the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for control of coronavirus.
  • Reinforcing 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.
    • 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.

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 Arlington County Public Health Division and the School Health Bureau as the situation evolves. This is a rapidly developing situation, and 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.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19 (NOVEL CORONAVIRUS)

 What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the new name for 2019 Novel Coronavirus. In December 2019, a new type of coronavirus known as COVID-19 was detected as the cause of respiratory illness in the Hubei Province of China (including Wuhan city). COVID-19 most often spreads during close contact with a person with the virus via respiratory droplets when that person coughs or sneezes. This virus has spread across China and is impacting other countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global public health emergency.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can include fever (>100.4 °F), cough, or difficulty breathing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

How is APS addressing students or staff who recently traveled to China? Should they stay home from school?
APS is following CDC recommendations. Based on CDC guidance for travelers, any student or staff member returning to the U.S. from mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) on or after February 3, 2020*, will not be allowed to attend school for 14 days from the date of departure from mainland China. (*NOTE: CDC updated its guidance from Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. to Feb. 3.) This is a precaution to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in our schools, should the student become ill during this period. (Example: If you left Mainland China on Feb. 5, then the earliest you can return to school would be Feb. 19.) Additionally, staff are disinfecting classroom objects and surfaces frequently. APS continues to reinforce preventive steps to reduce the spread of coronaviruses, flu, and other germs in schools, including handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping children home when they are sick.  As new guidance is provided, APS will adjust our procedures accordingly.

What is the current local impact and level of risk in schools?
According to the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), immediate risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. This is a rapidly developing situation, and APS is working closely with the Arlington County Public Health Division (PHD) to monitor new developments and adjust our procedures accordingly.

What can parents do to keep children safe?
It is important to stay informed and follow the guidelines of school health and other public health officials in Arlington — and not to panic if your child or someone else in your family or community gets a cough and fever. It’s more likely to be a cold, or flu, than COVID-19. Parents or guardians should continue to remind students about healthy habits and reinforce precautions taken regularly to prevent the spread of germs, like washing hands and covering their cough.

What should I do if my child is required to remain home from school due to travel from China on or after Feb. 3?
In these cases, the parent or guardian should contact the principal by phone (i.e. do not come into the school) immediately and maintain regular communication throughout the duration of the absence. APS will work with the family to ensure their educational needs are met remotely by providing take-home educational materials during this time.

Are students arriving from China after Feb. 3 allowed to register for school in APS?
Students who are subject to the quarantine can contact the school to register by phone, but they are unable to start school and cannot physically attend school until 14 days after the date of departure from mainland China.

What about students who traveled to other countries? Can they attend school?
Travel restrictions are only in place for travel from mainland China at this time. There are no travel restrictions from other countries and no limitation on these students attending school.

My family recently returned from travel to China before the new restrictions were put in place on February 3.  What should I do?
CDC guidance does not recommend quarantine for individuals traveling from China prior to February 3. There are no limits or restrictions on attending school because they are outside of the period during which they could become ill from the COVID-19.

I am concerned about a student in my child’s class or school. How will APS monitor the symptoms of students who have traveled to China in school?  
APS is putting these FAQs out reminding parents that if their student has had recent travel from mainland China to stay home in compliance with CDC guidance (see above). Any child becoming ill in the schools will be evaluated by the existing health monitoring system run by School Health a bureau of the Public Health Division.

Will APS share information about other students in light of the heightened concerns?
APS cannot share personal and confidential health information about any child with other parents or guardians.


CONTACTS AND RESOURCES

If you have questions about your child’s health or attendance at school, please contact the school directly. If parents or guardians have questions about the COVID-19 illness, contact the School Health Bureau at 703-228-1651.  APS will continue to follow PHD and School Health Bureau guidelines, and will  update this webpage as warranted with new developments. The following resources are provided for your information: