Jackie Johnson, the Public Information Officer for Alachua County Public Schools, released the following statement in regards to school closings and the coronavirus outbreak:
ACPS COVID-19 Update
Alachua County Public Schools remains in constant contact with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps to protect the health and well-being of our students, staff and families. We are also receiving regular guidance from both health and education officials about limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Obviously this is a very fluid situation and this guidance may change. However, based on the information we have at this point, the district will be operating as follows.
Schools remain open:
Based on the guidance we’ve received, our schools remain open. Of course, we are taking recommended preventative measures, including an emphasis on handwashing and cleaning. Our school nurses are also monitoring and sending home anyone who is ill.
Based on guidance from both the state and local Departments of Health, the district is not cancelling local and in-state field trips, although we are aware that some state competitions and other events have been cancelled or postponed. However, we are cancelling all out-of-state plane travel, which has been recommended by the DOE. We continue to review other field trips on a case-by-case basis.
We’ve also confirmed that, at the present time, school festivals, carnivals and other such events at which fewer than 1,000 will be gathered can be held. The Health Department’s guidance includes information about those who should NOT attend such gatherings at schools and in the communities. That includes those who:
- are a contact to a known or suspected case of COVID-19
- are over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions
- are immune compromised
- are ill
- have been exposed to someone with a respiratory illness in the last 14 days
- have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease
- have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, especially to destinations under a level 3 travel advisory
- have traveled to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19
The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who travel internationally to follow new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which are:
- Level 3: CDC recommends 14-day self-isolation and social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your County Health Department (CHD) or health care provider.
- Level 2 and Cruises: Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your CHD or health care provider.
- For more information regarding current CDC travel advisories related to COVID-19, visit: https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
We ask that all families and staff who have travelled or plan to travel follow these guidelines to help limit the transmission of COVID-19.
The district will continue to update COVID-19 information on its website at: www.sbac.edu. The following websites are also good sources of information and are frequently updated:
Alachua County Department of Health: http://alachua.floridahealth.gov/
Florida Department of Health: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/
The Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Thank you for your cooperation and support as the district, our community and our nation wrestle with this challenge.