Proactive Measures against Flu & Coronavirus

Proactive Measures against Flu & Coronavirus
Posted on 02/28/2020
Student washing her hands

School Closure Update #6: March 18, 2020

The Citrus County School District has been developing our Instructional Continuity Plan to ensure all students, including those with disabilities, have access to high-quality learning opportunities at home. This plan begins the week of March 30th and is intended to reduce the disruption of learning for our students by providing alternative instruction for an extended period of time.  The district has compiled a comprehensive collection of online content and digital resources.

For families who need an electronic device, schools will start the check-out process beginning the week of Monday, March 23rd through Thursday, March 26th. Principals will contact families regarding the check-out timeline at their school.  Again, this is only for families who do not have an electronic device at home that they can use.  Paper-based options will be available upon request.

Our Instructional Continuity Plan is fluid and will be adapted in response to the needs of our students and community.  More information will be provided in the next few days regarding the Instructional Continuity Plan.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we finalize our online learning content.

Coronavirus Update #5: March 17, 2020

At 6pm, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all schools in Florida to be closed through April 15th due to concerns about coronavirus.

Additionally, all state testing has been canceled through the end of this school year.  We are waiting for further direction from the Florida Department of Education and will communicate that information to you when we know more.

Coronavirus Update #4: March 13, 2020

At 4 o'clock today on a conference call with Florida Department of Education Commissioner Corcoran and Governor Desantis, all school districts were mandated that all students stay home beginning this Monday, March 16 and returning Monday, March 30. 
However, all staff will report at their regular scheduled time this Monday, March 16.

Also, based on recommendations from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health, anyone who travels anywhere outside of the United States, OR on any cruise MUST self-isolate for 14 days upon return. This means not going to school or work. This is a new state guideline, published today.

  • For our staff, you will be required to self-isolate.  Please know you will have to do so by using your accrued time. 
  • For our students, in order for your self-isolation time to be excused, you must produce travel documentation to your school administration. 

At this time, there are no special restrictions on travel inside the U.S. HOWEVER, if you experience flu-like symptoms or come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.  In this event, please call the health department or medical provider. 

We understand that there are a variety of questions that will come from our school community as a result of this news, and we are working to get more specifics out to our parents, students, and employees as quickly as we can.

That being said, we felt it was important to communicate directly with our families and employees as quickly as possible, so they can begin making preparations based on this development.

Thank you for your patience and stay tuned for additional information.

Coronavirus Update #3: March 12, 2020

The safety of our students and staff has always been our top priority.  Our administrative team has been communicating daily with local officials from the Department of Health in Citrus County and the Florida Department of Education.  Florida Superintendents have been on multiple conference calls with Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran regarding the issues school districts are facing due to the Coronavirus. 

Current Status: There is currently no evidence that the Coronavirus is in any of our schools, or in Citrus County. We work very closely with the health department and always implement their recommendations. At this time, the CDC has ruled Florida at low-risk.  However, we are in a constant state of preparation to respond to the Coronavirus and I want to address some of the questions and concerns we’ve received from families and school staff. 

Attendance:

We strongly encourage parents to keep students home if they are demonstrating flu-like symptoms. If a student stays home from school due to illness, and the student’s parent or guardian reports the reason for the absence to the school, the absence is excused under our district’s Attendance Policy.

Refer to the Student Code of Conduct, for information regarding provisions for making up any work that is missed for an excused absence.

Field Trips and athletic competitions:

Following Florida Department of Education and Florida Department of Health recommendations, until further notice, all planned school-sponsored trips involving AIR TRAVEL to out of state locations will be canceled. 

At this time, we have NOT postponed or canceled any events or in-state field trips. If a parent does not feel comfortable with their child going on a school scheduled field trip or participating in an event, please talk with your child’s school administration about arrangements for an excused absence. 

Preventative Measures:

Our district has implemented several preventative measures for all schools since we first started learning of the Coronavirus. 

  • Custodial crews are providing extra cleaning and disinfecting for high-traffic areas and surfaces that are frequently touched. 
  • Ordered 3,500 hand sanitizer inserts in addition to the ones that are currently in our schools. In the coming days, these will be installed in the 1500 instructional spaces (classrooms, resource rooms, media rooms media centers, clinics, etc.) in all school campuses. 
  • School administration and maintenance staff have been tasked with making sure all sanitizing and soap dispensers are full at all times.
  • Increased inventory of cleaning and sanitation materials.
  • Currently adjusting all school faucets to ensure that all run for the 10-20 seconds suggested by the CDC. (This is to allow for proper handwashing)
  • Placed hand washing posters in all student and staff bathrooms on all school campuses. These posters instruct proper handwashing techniques.
  • Creating a video on proper handwashing and use of hand sanitizer which can be viewed by every student on our morning shows.
  • School bus drivers will increase our deep cleaning processes of our school buses to twice a day.  

Travel and Spring Break:

If your family has plans to travel for Spring Break, please see The CDC’s Coronavirus Information for Travelers webpage (cdc.gov) for the latest information. For our entire school community, please exercise good judgement.

Hand sanitizers/cleaning supplies:

The most effective way to prevent disease spread is to wash your hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can serve as a good backup.  The district has ordered a sufficient supply of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. 

If a student finds a soap or hand sanitizer dispenser at a school that needs to be refilled, please tell any staff member or administrator about the specific location of the issue.

Our district will continue to provide regular updates here on our website, where parents, students, staff and the community can find FAQ’s and other important information.  As always, for more frequently asked questions and information regarding the flu and the Coronavirus, please visit cdc.gov or flhealth.gov.

Coronavirus Update #2: March 6, 2020

We know you have questions about Coronavirus/COVID-19 and how it may affect our schools and community. Our school district has been in constant contact with the experts at the Citrus County Health Department in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health.  

Current situation

We are operating our schools as usual, with normal hours. We are taking proactive steps for the health and well-being of our students and staff—frequently cleaning our classrooms and common areas.In the coming days, we will be installing more hand sanitizer dispensers in our schools.At this time, based on guidance from the Florida Department of Health, there is no reason to be scared—just be smart about prevention. 

It is important to talk with your student about using good hygiene—this stops the spread of most illnesses. 
If you or your child are sick, we encourage you to stay home and get healthy. 

We have been increasing our messaging to students, families and staff about disease prevention and hygiene. In the coming days, your student will notice an increase in posters being displayed around campus, specifically in restrooms regarding proper hand-washing procedures. We are also sharing information with our elementary students during the morning shows explaining steps to be taken to reduce the spread of germs.

Absences due to illness

We strongly encourage parents to keep students home if they are demonstrating flu like symptoms. If a student stays home from school due to illness, and the student’s parent or guardian reports the reason for the absence to the school, the absence is excused under our district’s Attendance Policy.
Refer to the Student Code of Conduct, for information regarding provisions for making up any work and/or tests that is missed, due to an excused absence.

We will continue to share regular updates with our school staff, students and families through callouts, email and here on our district website. 

As always, for more frequently asked questions and information regarding the flu and Coronavirus, please visit cdc.gov.

February 28th, 2020

Our district is taking proactive measures to protect our students and staff from illnesses such as the flu and Coronavirus.  The wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority.
Although there are no known cases of Coronavirus in Citrus County, we know that families are concerned. 

We want you to know that me and my team here at the District have been in communication with the department of health in Citrus County to mitigate an outbreak.  At this point, however, our main focus continues to be flu prevention.  But the protocol is useful for preventing many diseases.  

The best way to help avoid the spread, like flu and Coronavirus, is to practice the following simple steps:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.  A good rule of thumb here – sing the “Happy Birthday” song all the way through.
- Cover your “cough” or “sneeze” with your elbow, not your hands.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, “kissing” and “hugging”, and sharing cups, food or eating utensils with others.
- Clean and disinfect touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails and keyboards.  It might be useful to also clean your phones and remote controls on a more regular basis. 
- A very important one: Stay home if you are sick.
- If you have Asthma, follow your Asthma care plan, and call your doctor if you are sick.
- Get a flu vaccine.  

We will continue working with the department of health on proactive measures to address contagious diseases and provide additional information and resources as they become available.  

For more information now, please visit the Florida Department of Health website at floridahealth.gov OR the Centers for Disease Control at and Prevention at cdc.gov.
VIEW HERE: Superintendent Sam Himmel Video Message from Friday, February 28, 2020.