March 10, 2020
In everything we do, the safety of our students and staff is our top concern. In light of that, we want to share an important message about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). As you have likely realized, the circumstances and the information is evolving and changing as more is learned. Please know that, as we do in all health-related cases, we are working closely with our local health departments and the Diocese of Youngstown. We also receive additional guidance from the Stark County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are no confirmed cases of COVD-19 in Stark County at this time. Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Health announced that three Ohioans tested positive for COVID-19. These are the first cases in Ohio. The three individuals live in Cuyahoga County and have had known contact with those with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation and one which we are monitoring closely.
Our schools have emergency operation plans in place to deal with large-scale illness outbreaks, including procedures for excluding ill students and staff, cancellation of activities and gatherings with a large attendance, and, if necessary, school closure. We regularly work with our local health departments when there is a case or outbreak of disease for guidance on recommendation of student(s) exclusion and/or school closure.
At this time, we are focused on prevention methods as recommended by the agencies with which we work. If our local health department recommends additional steps, we will notify families right away. All of the schools in the Stark County Catholic Schools system are taking steps to protect against and prepare for any needed response to COVID-19, as well as other illnesses.
• Staff is working closely with students to encourage best hygiene practices
• Staff and administration are cognizant of building cleanliness
• Administrators are reviewing safety plans
• Communication lines are constant and continual between our administration, the appropriate health agencies, and the diocese
At home, there are steps your family can take to prevent the spread of illness which has been shared with us by a number of health agencies.
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry
• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable
• Cover your mouth with a tissue or a sleeve when sneezing or coughing
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
• Stay home when sick
• As much as possible, avoid contact with people who are sick
• Experts recommend getting a flu shot if you have not already done so, while there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, guarding against the flu can keep the immune system stronger
Attached you will find resources from a number of health agencies. We have also provided direct links to some of those agencies. There are a number of resources where your family can find information.
• Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH, Open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Families should also feel free to contact your school if you have any questions about our response to illness outbreak. We hope each of our families and the members of our staff will remain safe and healthy and that all of you will join us in prayer for all those affected by the Coronavirus and other illnesses.
President Dan Gravo
Stark County Catholic School