Update Letter to East Providence Families and Community Members

March 4, 2020

Good Afternoon East Providence Families & Community Members,

Today we were made aware of a teacher from our Kent Heights School whose daughter was quarantined.  While her daughter is symptom free, she is a student of a St. Raphael’s teacher who has reportedly contracted the coronavirus.

Our teacher also has a child enrolled in our High School.

Out of an abundance of caution, our teacher decided that they will stay at home, self-monitor for symptoms and will advise us and the Department of Health if they present any symptoms. 

We will advise you of any changes and continue with our Department of Health approved safety protocols, including sanitizing all schools on an ongoing basis.  Please see our previous updates and information (https://epschoolsri.org/news/) for more details.  Also, we will be providing weekly updates on our website.

Respectfully,

Kathryn M. Crowley

Superintendent of Schools

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Update Letter to East Providence Families and Community Members

March 3, 2020

Good Afternoon East Providence Families & Community Members,
This is an update regarding status of COVID-19 incidents in the district. As you know, we were
made aware of an incident involving a teacher who works at the Silver Spring School. Her
husband attended the St. Raphael’s trip to Italy over the February vacation. He presented
some symptoms of flu and was tested and found presumptively positive for the coronavirus.
Our teacher attended school for two days and is symptom free. However, she is voluntarily
quarantined for 14 days period and as of last reported Sunday evening showing no symptoms.
We have a second situation which came to our attention. A teacher in our Career & Technical
Center went on a family vacation to Italy over the February vacation. She contacted the Rhode
Island Department of Health. Out of an abundance of caution, she has decided to stay at home
for the rest of the week and will advise us and the Department of Health if she presents with
any symptoms.
We will advise you of any changes and continue with our Department of Health approved safety
protocols, including sanitizing all schools on an ongoing basis. Please see our March 1, 2020
letter (https://epschoolsri.org/news/) for more details. Also, we will be providing weekly
updates on our website.
Respectfully,

Kathryn M. Crowley
Superintendent of Schools

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update and Important Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update and Important Information

The East Providence School District is following the guidelines established by the RI Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  We are in constant communication with Dr. Alexander-Scott and members of the RI Department of Health.

A press conference was held on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. where Dr. Alexander-Scott reiterated that there is a low risk for COVID-19 in Rhode Island at the present time.  Dr. Alexander Scott said it was highly unlikely to be infected from contact with a secondary contact who is not showing symptoms.

As a precautionary measure during the flu season, the East Providence School District sanitized all schools during the February break.  We are continuing with our preventative cleaning and sanitation throughout all of our schools.  Our buses are also being sanitized and will continue to be sanitized daily.

Our efforts are being informed and coordinated by the RI Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on facts, science, and epidemiology. We have attached guidelines regarding preventative measures to keep everyone well.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Head Nurse, Ms. Diane Wallace at 433-6230 extension 2.  Please see the RI Department of Health website for more information: https://health.ri.gov/.

Please see the following information from the district administration:

Supt. Letter to Parents and Staff

Nurses Letter to Parents and Staff

Custodial Duties March 1, 2020

Supt. Letter to Parents and Staff (Portuguese)

Nurses Letter to Parents and Staff (Portuguese)

Custodial Duties March 1, 2020 (Portuguese)

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First Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is announcing the state’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The person is in their 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February. RIDOH is coordinating closely with the hospital where this person is currently being treated and all infection control protocols are being followed.

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, will be available to answer questions today, March 1st, at 11:45 a.m. in the Department Operations Center on the lower level of RIDOH (3 Capitol Hill, Providence).

“The Rhode Island Department of Health has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have a structure in place to, to the best of our ability, limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. We fully anticipated having a first case of COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexander-Scott. “We are not seeing widespread community transmission in Rhode Island, and the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is still low. However, everyone in Rhode Island has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of viruses, just like the flu. It is very important that people wash their hands regularly, cover their coughs and sneezes, and stay home if they are sick.”

Outreach to the people who were in direct contact with this individual has already begun, with extensive efforts underway to ensure that they undergo a period of 14 days of self-monitoring for symptoms at home with public health supervision (quarantine). As long as anyone exposed to the individual does not have symptoms outside of their home setting, the virus cannot spread to other people in the community. This individual’s immediate family members have been self-quarantining at home since it was determined that, based on this person’s travel history and symptoms, the individual met the criteria to be evaluated for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is managing contact tracing for people on this person’s return flight to the United States.

This individual had limited travel in Rhode Island since returning from Italy. This person had not returned to their place of work since returning from Italy.

In the past few weeks, RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories worked to develop the capacity to perform testing for COVID-19 virus. In response to an urgent need, the State Health Laboratories expedited the final steps of implementation to run the test that identified this first case of COVID-19 in Rhode Island this weekend. Previously, all testing for COVID-19 was done at CDC. At this time, each presumptive positive test result must still be confirmed by the CDC Laboratories. This might change in the coming days.

Because human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, Rhode Islanders are reminded to take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.

  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

If you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and you have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath) reach out to your healthcare provider and call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. The healthcare provider or facility will work closely with RIDOH.

There have been more than 60 U.S. cases of COVID-19 confirmed. Globally, more than 80,000 cases have been confirmed. CDC reported the first U.S. fatality on February 29th.

RIDOH continues to be notified by the federal government of asymptomatic travelers who are coming to Rhode Island after having been in China in the previous 14 days. These people are doing self-monitoring for symptoms for 14 days and are limiting their movement locally. (Passengers who have symptoms or who are coming from Hubei Province are not coming to Rhode Island. They are being quarantined domestically near the international airport where they landed.)

RIDOH is coordinating with other State agencies and community organizations to support anyone doing self-quarantining to ensure that people who are remaining at home have the support services they need. This includes support with everyday needs, such as prescriptions and groceries. The organizations that have offered support include agencies throughout the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Rhode Island Food Bank, the American Red Cross, and other members of Rhode Island’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD).

The additional preparedness steps that RIDOH has taken include:

  • Establishing an Incident Command System response, which is how RIDOH and other State agencies organize to prepare for (or respond to) an urgent situation that requires extensive coordination. It includes staff from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), and Rhode Island Commerce. It also includes staff from RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories, Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Center for Public Health Communication, among other areas of RIDOH.
  • Regularly communicating with RIDOH’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Advisory Committee (IDEAC) to track any clinical and epidemiological developments related to COVID-19. (IDEAC is a group of infectious disease physicians throughout Rhode Island that provides guidance to RIDOH leadership on emerging infectious disease matters.)
  • Maintaining a robust system to receive and follow up on illness reports from Rhode Island healthcare providers.
  • Regularly sending to local healthcare providers summaries of the national situation, criteria to guide evaluation of patients, and guidance on specimen collection, testing, and reporting.
  • Coordinating closely with healthcare facilities and emergency medical services (EMS) providers to ensure their preparedness.
  • Communicating regularly to community partners, such as schools, faith leaders, and municipal officials.

More information about COVID-19 is available in multiple languages at health.ri.gov/covid.

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Notice from RIDE on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Dear Superintendent,

We are reaching out to provide you with additional information and resources regarding prevention, detection, and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. We know that you are fielding questions from your staff and families, and we want to reassure you that our departments are working closely together to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information to report back to your school communities.

On Thursday, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) shared Updated COVID-19 Guidance for School Administrators and School Nurses and Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Prevent Seasonal Illness and Plan/Respond to COVID-19. The CDC is also in the process of developing additional detailed updated guidance for school nurses and school administrators, and we will share that information with superintendents as soon as it is available.

As you likely know, Rhode Island has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time, and the risk to our residents remains low. All travelers from mainland China, the epicenter of COVID-19 cases, are being screened upon entry into the United States, so the likelihood that individuals who have been exposed would be in schools remains extremely low.

The health and safety of our residents – and especially our young people – is of the utmost importance, however, so we will continue to be vigilant in our preparation for any potential impacts of the virus in Rhode Island.

The precautions to prevent the new coronavirus are similar to those used to prevent cold, flu, and norovirus. Students, staff, and school volunteers should be reminded to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve; stay away from people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick. Schools should likewise follow routine cleaning and disinfection procedures.

If students, staff, or school volunteers come to the nurse’s office or present with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have traveled from China in the last 14 days, direct the individual to a private room, ask them to wear a face mask, if possible, and close the door. Anyone interacting with that individual should also wear a face mask, and should stand at least six feet away. Call the Rhode Island Department of Health Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology (CAIDE) at 401-222-2577, or 401-276-8046 after hours, for additional guidance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in the process of developing more detailed guidance for schools to help plan and prepare for COVID-19, and respond if there is a local outbreak. We will share that guidance as soon as it is available.

In the meantime, the Department of Health has created a website that is updated regularly with the latest CDC guidance and resources. Visit health.ri.gov/covid to access that information. That page also features COVID-19 fact sheets, available in six languages, which we encourage you to distribute to your staff and families.

Thank you for your support and partnership in getting this message out to school communities, and for your ongoing efforts to keep Rhode Island students and families safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott Director, RI Department of Health

Angélica Infante-Green Commissioner of Education

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