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Two Roanoke City schools closing over COVID-19 concerns

(WDBJ7 photo)
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Two Roanoke City elementary schools are closed for in-person instruction for two weeks because of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staffers. Virtual education will continue.

Wasena Elementary and James Madison Middle schools made the decision after consulting with the Virginia Department of Health.

At Madison, the staffer was not on campus October 27, but had contact with members of the school community, according to a letter sent to parents. At Wasena, three staffers contracted COVID-19 and were not on campus Monday or Tuesday, but had direct contact with members of the school community.

Principals from both schools say they will update staff, students and parents about reopening plans.

Letter sent to James Madison families:

October 27, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Roanoke City Public Schools is informing parents and guardians that a staff member from James Madison Middle School has been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The staff member was not on school premises Tuesday, October 27, 2020, but had direct exposure with members of our school community. Student or Employee Health has communicated with all individuals that had direct exposure at this time.

After consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, James Madison Middle School will CLOSE for in-person instruction, but will continue virtual instruction from October 28, 2020 until November 10, 2020. The school is scheduled to reopen Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

We are working closely with RCPS Employee Health and Virginia Department of Health. If you or your child are identified as having been potentially exposed, Employee Health or the Virginia Department of Health will contact you to ask that you please stay home and monitor for symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or a temperature higher than 100.4°F, and practice social distancing for 14 days from your last contact. If you are not contacted by the health department, you do not need to stay home or exclude yourself from activities at this time.

Parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of their families for COVID-19 symptoms. Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported in some children.

Children with certain underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, or weak immune systems, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Contact your child’s healthcare provider regarding any concerns.

People without symptoms do not need to seek care or be tested. Those who become ill should contact their healthcare provider. Your Child’s doctor, in consultation with public health officials, will determine appropriate care and whether testing is necessary. If your child has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, please report this to your school. This information will be kept confidential.

Schools continue to utilize Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, to reduce viral transmission and keep our children and school personnel healthy and safe. Parents and family members can assist this effort by promoting healthy behaviors and following these practices:

● Stay home from school or work if sick, even if symptoms are mild.

● Wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve), and then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

● Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

● Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

● Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.

● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

● Take care of your health overall. Stay current on your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, eat well, and exercise to help your body stay resilient.

The Virginia Department of Health provides information about COVID-19 and frequently asked questions (FAQ) from parents and concerned family members. The CDC offers tips to keep children healthy during this time. The Virginia Department of Education’s produced COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School Age Children and provides additional considerations for students with disabilities, guidance for military families and social emotional wellness for parents and caregivers.

If you have any questions, please call James Madison Middle School at 540-853-2351.

Sincerely,

Whitney Johnson, Principal

James Madison Middle School

Letter sent to Wasena families:

October 27, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

I am writing to follow-up from the previous letters sent to parents and guardians. A third staff member at Wasena Elementary has been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The staff members were not on school premises Monday October 26, 2020 or Tuesday, October 27, 2020, but they did have direct exposure with members of our school community. Employee Health has communicated with all individuals that have had direct exposure.

After consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, Wasena Elementary School will CLOSE for in-person instruction for two weeks (10/27/20 -11/09/20). We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to identify anyone who had close contact with the person to determine if they might have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Schools continue to utilize Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, to reduce viral transmission and keep our children and school personnel healthy and safe. Parents and family members can assist this effort by promoting healthy behaviors and following these practices:

● Stay home from school or work if sick, even if symptoms are mild.

● Wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve), and then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

● Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

● Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

● Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.

● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

● Take care of your health overall. Stay current on your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, eat well, and exercise to help your body stay resilient.

The Virginia Department of Health provides information about COVID-19 and frequently asked questions (FAQ) from parents and concerned family members. The CDC offers tips to keep children healthy during this time. The Virginia Department of Education’s produced COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School Age Children and provides additional considerations for students with disabilities, guidance for military families and social emotional wellness for parents and caregivers.

Sincerely,

Josh Burton, Principal

Wasena Elementary School

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