Information for School Districts Regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Health officials are currently taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) into communities across the United States. School districts can play an important role in this effort.

Through collaboration and coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and local public health agencies, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), other education officials, and elected officials, districts can disseminate critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff, and community. Districts can also prepare to take additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, should State and local health officials identify such a need.

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and this document will be updated as new information becomes available. 
Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2020, at all 2:03 p.m.

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Announcements
Other Key Updates
CASB Resources
Resources on Budget
Reopening Schools: Guidance, Messages and Resources

Communication Guides and Templates
Continuous Learning Resources
Other Resource Materials
Stories from the Field


Announcements

Other Key Updates

CDE COVID-19 Resources for Schools
CDC Interim Guidance on Reopening Child Care Programs, Schools and Day Camps
U.S. DOE issues new fact sheet on special education
State of Colorado's Page on COVID-19
Novel Coronavirus – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Planning for Schools and Child Care
Novel Coronavirus – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Planning for Schools and Child Care Closure
Travel and Spring Break
State Labor Department Releases Emergency Rules on Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19


CASB Resources

Update: Sample Resolution to Grant Emergency Powers and Suspend Policies  (PDF)
Update: Sample Resolution to Grant Emergency Powers and Suspend Policies (Word)
Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings FAQ
Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings Changes
Sample Notice of Virtual School Board Meetings
Policy Exhibit BEDA-E (PDF)
Sample Notice of Virtual School Board Meetings
Policy Exhibit BEDA-E (Word)
Best Practices for School Board Meetings Being Held Remotely
Sample Resolution to Support the TABOR Emergency Tax (PDF)
Sample Resolution to Support the TABOR Emergency Tax (Word)
Sample Resolution to Repeal the Gallagher Amendment (PDF)
Sample Resolution to Repeal the Gallagher Amendment (Word)


Resources on Budget

Reopening Schools: Guidance, Messages and Resources

Communication Guides and Templates

Continuous Learning Resources

Other Resource Materials

Stories from the Field — Our Schools are More Than Learning Centers

The social and economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak illuminates just how much we now ask of our public education system. We are capturing stories from the field to show the vital roles our schools now play.

View Stories

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.

People who get sick with COVID-19 develop mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Illness can begin 2 to 14 days after an exposure. Although this virus likely emerged from an animal source, it can also spread from person-to-person. Spread from one person to another is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Typically, as with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.

The latest national situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the United States, are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). State situation updates can be found on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) website: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado.

What is the health risk from COVID-19 in Colorado?

Under current circumstances, certain people will have an increased risk of infection:

  • People who have traveled to areas where widespread community transmission is occurring.
  • People who had direct close contact with someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Like any other virus, no identity, community, ethnic, or racial group in Colorado is more at risk for getting or spreading COVID-19.

Not all coronaviruses are COVID-19. There are many other kinds of common coronaviruses currently circulating in Colorado and the U.S. that cause respiratory illness. There are also many other kinds of respiratory illnesses (such as colds and flu) circulating right now.

What are the latest public health measures?

The public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the U.S. so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus.

The U.S. government has taken unprecedented steps with respect to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus and the CDC has issued travel guidance related to COVID-19. The CDC is working closely with state health departments, including the CDPHE, and is issuing clinical guidance. The CDPHE is providing information about the outbreak and how to report suspect cases to local health departments and health care providers in Colorado and coordinating with local public health agencies to determine the need for monitoring, quarantine, or other restriction of movement and activities for travelers returning from China.

What precautions can school districts in Colorado take to prevent infections with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases?

To prepare for possible community transmission of COVID-19, the most important thing for schools to do now is plan and prepare. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has provided the following information for Colorado school districts:

  1. Continue to follow the Fact Sheet and Guidelines from CDPHE.

  2. For Pre-Pandemic planning, use the Colorado Emergency Guidelines for Flu Pandemic (Pages 67 and 68) with these additional considerations
    1. Contact your local public health agency to review and/or develop a pandemic plan
    2. Antiviral medications are currently not indicated for COVID-19
    3. Vaccines are not indicated for COVID-19
  3. Continue implementing the same practices as you would during flu season
    1. Wash your hands often with soap and water
    2. Cover coughs and sneezes
    3. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
    4. Stay home if you are sick
    5. Avoid close contact with other people (Keep a distance of at least 10 feet)
    6. Follow the “How Sick is Too Sick” guidelines from CDPHE for school communities
  4. Follow the Disease Prevention Sanitation Guidelines in the Infectious Disease in Childcare and Schools Setting (Page 19-20)

Per interim guidance from the CDC, districts in Colorado can further take steps to help stop or slow the spread of respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19, by:

  • Reviewing, updating, and implementing emergency operations plans (EOPs). This should be done in collaboration with local public health agency. Focus on the components, or annexes, of the plans that address infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Developing information-sharing systems with partners. Information-sharing systems can be used for day-to-day reporting (on information such as changes in absenteeism) and disease surveillance efforts to detect and respond to an outbreak.
  • Monitoring and plan for absenteeism. Review and monitor the usual absentee patterns at schools among both students and staff and alert local health officials about large increases in student and staff absenteeism, particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses.
  • Creating communications plans for use with the school community. Schools can share relevant CDC fact sheets to help students, families, and staff understand COVID-19 along with steps they can take to protect themselves. Communication plans should also include information about steps schools are taking to prepare and how additional information will be shared.
  • Reviewing CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers. Districts may also consider reviewing this CDC guidance to identify any additional strategies schools can use, given their role as an employer.

Guidelines for emergency school or child care closure (Guidance as of March 11, 2020)

It will be important to work closely with your Local Public Health Department as you begin considering closing school or child care. Public Health is not currently recommending that schools or child care proactively close unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student. The following guidance should be considered a requirement for all schools and child care in Colorado, and schools and child care in partnership with their local public health agencies can choose to close at an earlier time in order to prevent further COVID-19 transmission.

State ordered closure criteria

  • Any school* in Colorado with a single confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student will close for a minimum of 72 hours for cleaning and social distancing
  • Any schools that are closed will partner with their local public health agency to conduct contact tracing and further COVID-19 testing.
  • Any school with a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student within a 30 day period requires a second minimum 72 closure for cleaning, testing and public health investigation.
  • Any school with 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff or students within a 30 day period requires a closure for a minimum of 14 days.
  • If 3 schools in a district have confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 30 day period, all schools within the district are required to close for a minimum of 14 days for cleaning, testing and public health investigation.
  • Other factors to consider when making decisions to close one or more schools, include:
    • Families with students in multiple buildings
    • Shared facilities
    • Shared transportation
    • Central kitchens
    • Shared staff
Novel Coronavirus – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Planning for Schools and Child Care Closure

 

Contacts at CDE that may be helpful to you as you are looking at your emergency plans

  • Sarah Blumenthal in our Health and Wellness Unit serves as CDE’s liaison between CDPHE and school nurses. If you have any questions for her, you can reach her at 303.866.6779 or [email protected]
  • Brehan Riley is the director of our School Nutrition Unit, and she will be working with districts and the USDA on emergency feeding operations. You can reach her at 303.866.6299 or riley[email protected]
  • Jennifer Okes, our chief operating officer at CDE, can provide guidance on instructional hours and will be helping me consider flexibilities if necessary. You can reach Jennifer at 303-866-2996 or [email protected]
  • Dana Smith, our chief communications officer, can assist you with communications if that would be helpful. She is available at [email protected] or 303-866-6682.

For more information, please visit:

For examples of district communications regarding COVID-19, please refer to:

Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures

Special processes beyond routine cleaning is not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Schools should follow standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA‐registered product. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.

As a reminder, entities can secure the necessary EMS, First Aide and Custodial Cleaning products through the BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative contracts. To see what contracts are available to you, visit www.buyboard.com.

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