Communication from GGUSD
Coronavirus Update – 3/12/2020
- Thursday, March 12, 2020
Dear GGUSD Students/Families/Staff
Below please find our current update regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). (Please note the underlined blue hyperlinks throughout this message provide links to Internet resources.) All past and current messages can also be found at: https://ggusd.us/communication/coronavirus-update. Moving forward, we will be sending updates on the Coronavirus each Friday (except holidays and breaks) via Parent Square.
Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) is working closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), the leading government agency managing coronavirus prevention for our county. We have conference calls a minimum of once a week for regular updates about the coronavirus and its impact to school districts and also maintain regular communication with OCHCA to ensure we are taking every precaution to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff, and families.
The current status of the Coronavirus in Orange County is:
- There are no known cases of coronavirus in GGUSD schools. According to OCHCA, the risk of infection to the public in Orange County remains low at this time and there is no evidence of community transmission in Orange County.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has expanded its self-quarantine travel advisory to additional countries (including China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea).
- EFFECTIVE 3/12/2020: Per the California Department of Public Health and OCHCA, at least through the end of March, gatherings of 250 people or more will be canceled or postponed. Additionally, smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person will be canceled or postponed. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk (elderly, medically fragile) for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people. A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space. This guidance does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services but will apply to all school and district events and participation in external events that are school or district sponsored/approved. Notification of cancellations will be sent separately.
According to the CDC and all other health agencies, frequent handwashing (for 20 seconds or more) is the best way to protect from getting sick and spreading germs to others. All school offices, restrooms and most classrooms have sinks, soap, and paper towels/hand dryers. Classrooms without sinks will be provided hand sanitizer and all classrooms will also be provided Clorox wipes (pending availability). Schools will implement new protocols to ensure students exercise frequent hand washing as part of their daily routine.
All schools have received coronavirus prevention posters in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The posters contain helpful prevention tips including avoiding close contact (hugging or shaking hands) with people, avoiding touching your face, staying home when sick, and other information. Click here to view the poster.
Our classrooms are cleaned and sanitized daily. GGUSD custodians have received detailed instructions regarding preventative cleaning practices. This includes daily sanitization of frequently touched surfaces, including desktops, counter tops, pencil sharpeners, water fountains, sinks, door handles, light switches, and computer keyboards, among others, as well as daily cleaning of school busses.
GGUSD is adding a coronavirus action plan to our existing emergency preparedness response plans for various scenarios as recommended by the California Department of Public Health. The plan includes response for students and/or staff who present symptoms, contingencies for possible closures including remote meal and instructional programs, and communication processes to ensure all stakeholders are informed of response efforts. More details are forthcoming as conditions change.
Should one of our staff or students test positive for coronavirus, the OCHCA would lead a close contact investigation and establish protocols/guidelines regarding closure, quarantine, and cleaning. School closure is not a decision that would be made in isolation by the school district; instead, any decision to close a school would be made in consultation with the Orange County Health Care Agency. Click here for more on school closures.
Students, families, and staff can take proactive measures to help prevent the spread of illness.
- Follow the guidelines on the OCHCA poster: Click here to view the poster.
- Stay home when you’re sick. Do not come to school or work until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours or you are no longer infectious. Seek medical care for severe symptoms including high fever or difficulty breathing. Illness is always an excused absence. Some families have asked about keeping their healthy child(ren) home based on fear of contracting coronavirus at school. Please be aware that, according to California Education Code, those absences will be marked as unexcused unless schools are closed.
- Students or staff who have traveled to a country under a Level 3 Travel Health Notice must report the travel to their principal or immediate supervisor as well as Baldwin Pedraza, Director of Student Services at 714-663-6391, and complete the 14 day self-quarantine prior to returning to school/work. Absences for self-quarantine are excused and GGUSD will work with families to support the continuation of instruction through this process.
- There are many rumors and misinformation about the spread of coronavirus. Please check facts before sharing what you hear or read online. For the most factual information, visit ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus or call the HCA’s Health Referral Line at 800-564-8448.
GGUSD will provide weekly coronavirus updates using our ParentSquare system, which allows us to call, email, and text our families and staff. As conditions change, further restrictions may be implemented and all stakeholders will be kept informed by the district and/or school. Additionally, the district has posted coronavirus information and resources on our website here. If a member of your family is not receiving these updates via email, text or phone, please be sure to update your information with your child’s school.
We understand stakeholders’ concerns and anxiety regarding the coronavirus and will continue to work alongside our government agencies to ensure our community has accurate information and our students and staff remain healthy. We are grateful for the support of our community as we all work together to prevent the spread of illness.
Questions have arisen regarding the role of the federal, state and county health and education officials in supporting schools in dealing with health issues such as the Coronavirus. In the U.S., states are the primary authorities for public health. In the state of California, that authority is delegated to the counties. Our county is Orange County which runs the Orange County Health Care Agency (OC HCA). While resources and supports from state and federal resources may always be consulted (see links below), OCHCA is the agency directly working with and advising GGUSD and other Orange County districts.
- OCHCA: ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx
- S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html