School District outlines disease preparedness
Star Journal Staff
The School District of Rhinelander’s (SDR) preparedness planning team, including the Oneida County Health Department, medical advisors, superintendent, school nurses and administrators have been meeting to review and update the district’s Infectious Disease and Pandemic Preparedness Plan.
The letter sent to SDR families follows:
Dear Staff, Students, Families, and Community:
The School District of Rhinelander values the health and well-being of our students, staff and families. We work throughout the year to promote healthy schools. Safety is always our priority.
As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) share more information about COVID-19, or the coronavirus, we want you to know that we are regularly in contact with the Oneida County Health Department. Our school nurses and school health services staff work alongside school administrators to plan and respond to emerging communicable disease concerns following the guidance of the public health department and CDC recommendations.
We have updated our pandemic preparedness plans given that the CDC is recommending Americans prepare for the likely spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is currently the flu and respiratory disease season; recommendations include getting vaccinated for influenza and taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. CDC always recommends these everyday preventive actions:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Stay home when you are sick. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Cover your cough and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes and dispose of tissue. If tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Avoid touching your eye, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects.
Criteria for Mandatory Exclusion from school and/or activity/sport
School officials will help prevent the spread of infection by promptly excluding students/attendees, and staff that have symptoms of influenza like illness and will send ill students and staff members home as is necessary. If the student or staff member has an illness, use any TWO of the following criteria for exclusion:
(1) Fever of 100 degrees or greater;
(2) Headache or myalgia (aches and pain, muscle aches, chest discomfort); or
(3) Respiratory signs or symptoms (cough or sore throat/ congestion).
The school district also does daily symptom surveillance for other types of illnesses. A student will be excluded for GI illnesses that present with vomiting and diarrhea.
If students or staff are excluded from school, please call your provider before being seen in an effort to keep germ transmission out of clinics and waiting areas.
The Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving and changing. We understand there is uncertainty involved in this situation. Refer to the links below for more information. The CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will update their sites regularly.
Kerri Schmidt BSN, RN, NCSN
Valerie Leighton BSN, RN