Updated Information Regarding Coronavirus2/29/2020
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
You have probably seen the news about the first presumptive coronavirus COVID-19 case in Oregon; it was announced Friday evening. The individual believed to have contracted the virus is an employee at a Lake Oswego school.
We continue to monitor the situation in Lake Oswego, and we are in continual contact with government agencies and our public health partners, including Oregon Health Authority, Multnomah County, and the Oregon Department of Education. Our internal team at PPS continues to develop contingency plans and identify best practices, both proactive and reactive, in the case that someone at or connected to a PPS school eventually contracts the virus.
The latest coronavirus information from Multnomah County can be found by scrolling to the end of this message.
We are also taking a number of preventative precautions. School custodial crews will focus on and increase the frequency of disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, desks, and sinks, as part of increased and enhanced daily cleaning practices. When needed, PPS has relationships with several outside firms to assist with deep-cleaning efforts, and in any case where there is an apparent contagious virus present, we will follow cleaning and disinfection protocols from Multnomah County and the Centers for Disease Control. We are also extending our increased cleaning protocols to school busses.
Students, families, and staff can best support our proactive efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home as directed by public health guidelines.
The safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority. We are working across PPS and in partnership with other districts, state and local government, and public health agencies in order to be as prepared as we can be. We plan to offer regular updates over the coming days. In between messages from PPS, you can also stay up-to-date by visiting the following links:
- Multnomah County Health Department
- Oregon Health Authority (OHA)
- Centers for Disease Control
- Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Communicable Disease Guidance
We are aware of reports that some of our Asian students were targeted and discriminated against in connection to the coronavirus. This is unacceptable and contrary to our values of racial equity and social justice. Fear of the outbreak has fueled xenophobic remarks and behaviors in the weeks since the first case of coronavirus. It is important to distinguish medical precautions from racist and discriminatory behaviors. At PPS, we value racial equity and social justice. Our responsibility is to provide welcoming, safe, and inclusive schools where every student can learn and grow to reach their potential, and we do not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination. This is especially important at a time when fears about the virus can too easily foster suspicion without regard for facts. Please keep close to our core values, continue to treat everyone in our community with respect and recognize the dignity and humanity of everyone.
Following is updated information from Multnomah County, regarding the first presumptive case of coronavirus in Oregon. It includes guidance regarding when you and/or your student should stay home from school or work, and additional tips on how to minimize your chances of being exposed to the virus.
Oregon announced its first presumptive case of COVID-19, on February 28, 2020. The patient was an adult who spent time in a school in the Lake Oswego school district and may have exposed students and staff at the school. The individual has been isolated and is being cared for at a local hospital. OHA epidemiologists are working closely with public health investigators at Washington County Department of Health and Human Services to identify anyone who may have experienced close contact with this person.
Health officials support schools in sending home or keeping home students and staff members who appear unwell, consistent with the tri-county standard exclusion guidelines.
You can help yourself and your student(s) to reduce their risk for getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, by encouraging them to take simple steps, which will also prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue, sleeve, or elbow (not hands) when you cough or sneeze, and then wash your hands.
- If you or someone in your household is sick, stay home and follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.
- Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and regular exercise, and by taking care of underlying health conditions.
In the face of rumors, check multco.us/covid19 for reliable information.