This letter is to provide an update of the precautionary measures currently in place at Summit to help mitigate the risks associated with the respiratory illness caused by novel (new) coronavirus. The disease the virus causes has been named COVID-19.
On Monday I took part in an Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) webinar regarding COVID-19. In this session school administrators were briefed on current state processes and procedures for dealing with the potential of the virus entering K-12 environments. We are currently involved in working with both state and local partners to review and update our emergency plans.
According to the IDPH there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low; however, the potential of the public health threat is high.
As a school it is important to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way that we prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt our normal routine. To date we have accomplished the following:
- Reviewed our common-sense preventive actions for preventing the spread of illness with our students and staff
- Shared and reviewed our emergency plans with local partners (e.g., local public health and local emergency management)
- Reviewed our absence and sick leave policies
- Enhanced our routine environmental cleaning procedures
- Created communication plans in coordination with IDHP for use with the school community
The IDHP has stressed that it is normal to be concerned about a new virus. They believe that the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now. In fact, the prevention methods for influenza and COVID-19 are the same. Students and faculty have been advised to:
- Cover cough and sneezes with a tissue or the upper arm/elbow
- Clean their hands frequently with soap and water
- Contain germs by staying home when ill
Questions have been raised regarding travel precautions during our spring break. As of today, there are no recommendations or precautions for US travel and no monitoring or screening is being required/recommended by the CDC. There are travel alerts however for China, Japan, Italy, South Korea and Iran and those travel guidelines can be found on the CDC website:
We thank you in advance for working with us to manage any potential impact that COVID-19 may have within our local community. As we are given more information from the IDHP and/or the Department of Education, we will be sure to share this with you. For more information about COVID-19 please visit idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus
Paul G Pressler
Head of School