The world has turned its attention to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its spread to different countries, including the United States. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is closely monitoring coronavirus disease 2019, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has activated an online Coronavirus FAQ that addresses common questions at the district and school-level, and offers answers that might be considered when formulating local action plans. The page also provides important information about how to contact the Ohio Department of Health for updates. ODE reiterates that schools and districts should make all decisions based first and foremost on the best interest of the health and safety of students and the community. It is also important that districts guard against signs of discrimination directed toward individuals based on race, ethnicity, or background that arise because of the stigma or anxiety that this situation has created.
FOR OHIO'S SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS
- What is coronavirus?
- What guidance is the Ohio Department of Education providing to school and district leaders about how to plan for the coronavirus?
- Will the Ohio Department of Education tell schools and districts they must close when certain criteria are met?
- If schools are closed for several weeks, are there plans in place to ensure students continue to learn?
- Will the amount of required instructional time for the school year be reduced if schools are closed for an extended period of time?
- What if schools must close during state testing? How will that be handled?
- Will school staff be monitoring students for signs of coronavirus?
- Are there instructional materials for teachers and school staff on how to reduce the risk for themselves, their students and others?
- Should schools consider disinfecting facilities as a preventative measure?
- Who will determine when it is safe to reopen schools if schools must close because coronavirus reaches a community, but new infections decline?
In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 and its potential impact on schools, Neola undertook an exhaustive review of current policy templates in Ohio related to public health emergencies. At this time, it is not essential that our clients revise any Neola policy templates to address COVID-19. Current policies and administrative guidelines anticipate events such as community infectious diseases like COVID-19. Therefore, we recommend that you review current policies and administrative procedures that have been adopted and approved by the District. These document templates may be downloaded from Policy Update and Administrative Procedures Update menu in your BoardDocs console.
If you have adopted a District-specific policy related to public health emergencies, we recommend your staff review those policies to be sure they are current.
Included with this Special Release are the following documents:
Policy 8420.01 - Pandemics and Other Medical Emergencies (Current Template Reissued)
Policy 8450 – Control of Casual-Contact Communicable Diseases (Current Template Reissued)
AG 8450 – Management of Selected Casual-Contact Diseases (Current Template Reissued)
- Cleaning, Sanitizing and Targeted Disinfecting on the School Bus
- Coronavirus and School Closures: What Are the Legal, Logistical Issues?
- How to Respond to Coronavirus: 6 Steps for Schools
- How US Schools are Preparing for the Coronavirus
- Schools Should 'Minimize Disruption' Over Coronavirus, CDC Official Says
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: COVID-19
NOTE: If you have adopted Policy 8420.01, it is recommended that you organize the Pandemic Response Team (PRT) as a proactive measure to review the Pandemic Response Plan should the current situation rise to that level. This is not a Board committee or team, so there should be no issue with the Sunshine laws and there are likely to be benefits from keeping such PRT meetings internal so as to avoid unnecessary reactions/overactions.