SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – School districts in the ArkLaTex say they are keeping a close eye on the Coronavirus outbreak and taking steps to keep students and faculty safe.
Currently, there are no reported cases of the coronavirus in the ArkLaTex. Seven people have died nationally due to the virus.
KTAL NBC 6/KMSS Fox 33 reached out to several school districts in the region to ask what precautions, if any, are they taking in regards to the Coronavirus.
Here are the responses from the school districts that responded to our question.
‘Bossier Schools is addressing the coronavirus by disinfecting commonly touched surfaces multiple times each day and staying in close contact with the Louisiana Office of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control for further guidance. We have also posted a letter to families from BPSB Nursing Coordinator Ginger Hughes on the Bossier Schools website which includes links to an interview with Dr. Martha Whyte and the CDC website. Bossier Schools will continue to take every precaution we can and every measure advisable by state and federal health officials to ensure students’ and employees’ health is safeguarded to the best of our ability’ said Sonja Bailes with the Bossier Parish School District.
‘For us, it’s certainly first and foremost taking care of the students and making sure that we are still able to provide a continuity of care. Are we going to have to exercise maybe virtual classes? Are we going to have to go into using one site vs another site because you’ve seen a spread. We’re asking for frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, coughing into your elbow but also if anyone is exhibiting any systems of illness regardless of if they think it’s Corona, the flu or the cold to please stay home’ said Mary Nash-Wood with Caddo Parish Schools.
RELATED: Caddo schools have a plan for possible coronavirus outbreak
‘DeSoto is very diligent when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. Our custodial staff has always taken every step to disinfect. Our nurses on our campuses do everything they can to ensure they identify students who are ill. We also consistently remind parents to clean and disinfect backpacks, encourage hand washing, and students should not return to school until completely clear of fever for 24 hours‘ said Sheriff Lafitte with DeSoto Parish Schools.
‘Reminding everyone of health precautions and that handwashing is paramount‘ said Superintendent Sara Ebarb.
TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS SCHOOL DISTRICT:
‘In addition to maintaining an aggressive schedule of disinfecting our schools and office buildings the district provides our staff, students and families prevention information (via print material and social media) so they can take every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. Technology allows us to assign schoolwork so students can receive instruction outside of the classroom. In light of the recent spread of the Coronavirus, TASD is reviewing our current plan for Alternate Methods of Instruction (AMI) Days which is currently used in the event of inclement weather. TASD will continue to follow Governor Hutchinson’s lead as we assess our current plan and increase our efforts in preparation of a potential outbreak in our state’ said Genia Bullock with the Texarkana, Arkansas School District.
TEXARKANA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT:
TISD has discussed and reviewed advisory details related to the Coronavirus. Like any respiratory virus (cold/flu), it is spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another and through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. We annually prepare for the cold/flu season and really have not seen any more than usual this year. Even for the campuses that did experience a rise in cold/flu cases, we are seeing a decrease now with the warmer temperatures. From a building maintenance standpoint, we make sure that every classroom/teacher workroom/lounge has disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Our staff does additional detail for classrooms/common areas that include disinfecting all the surface areas. During the time we find a heavier concentration of the cold/flu in a given area, we also will have building maintenance staff use a disinfectant bomb on the area. This bomb is great in killing germs in a 6,000 square foot area. We are also installing disinfectant wipes on the outside of restrooms as a form of double protection. The key to making sure viruses are reduced as much as possible include teaching students to cover their cough and hand wash with soap and water for 20 seconds. We also encourage parents/guardians to make sure they keep their student at home when sick. If the situation for our area changes, we will work closely with our Director of Health Services as to next steps in prevention and communication‘ said Tina Veal-Gooch with the Texarkana Independent School District.
‘We remain in frequent contact with our local homeland security office and stay abreast of current guidance from the CDC. We strongly encourage the liberal use of Vital Oxide, which is a hospital grade disinfectant, in all of our schools. We require our custodians to apply it in all areas of the school. The WPSB provides this product for all schools. It has been determined to destroy Coronavirus as well as many other diseases. We suggest to all students as well as employees to constantly wash their hands with warm, soapy water and follow proper protocol for coughing. We will continue to follow the guidance from appropriate local and state agencies” said Superintendent Johnny Rowland.