Coronavirus Update

What's Happening
January 29, 2020

February 6, 2020 UPDATE

FCPS is working with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) and closely monitoring the health crisis in China and any impact it may have locally.  Currently, there are no cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Fairfax County, in Virginia, or in the National Capitol Region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. The FCHD has provided an updated handout about coronavirus for the community. The most up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus outbreak can also be found on the CDC website


The FCHD is coordinating with federal, state and local public health and safety partners to take public health actions, as necessary, to keep the community safe. As the novel coronavirus situation continues to evolve, FCPS will continue to work with the FCHD to implement public health recommendations and share updates with the community.

Frequently Asked Questions About Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

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1.    What is FCPS’ doing to address the recent concerns regarding novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)? 

In coordination with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), FCPS is closely monitoring the health crisis in China and any impact it may have locally.  Currently, there are no cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Fairfax County, in Virginia or in the National Capitol Region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. FCPS will continue to work with FCHD for guidance or actions, as necessary, to address this health-related issue in our schools. 

2.    My child or someone in my child’s school recently traveled to China. Should students or school staff with recent travel to China stay home from school? 

FCPS has worked closely with the FCHD and has received information based on updated guidance from public health officials. Public health recommendations for travelers have recently changed and guidance depends on when the travel occurred.

  • Any person returning from China who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should stay home and contact their health care provider or the Fairfax County Health Department immediately.   
  • If the person returned from China more than 14 days ago, they are outside of the period during which they could become ill from the novel coronavirus and there are no limitations on their attending school.
  • If the person returning from China arrived in the U.S. before the evening of February 2 when new travel restrictions were put in place, there are no limitations on their attending school. 
  • If the person returning from China arrived in the U.S. after the evening of February 2, they would be subject to new national restrictions. Persons who had traveled in Hubei province, which includes the city Wuhan, would have a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Persons who had traveled elsewhere in China and did not have direct contact with someone who has documented novel coronavirus infection, would self-quarantine and be monitored by the health department. Children in this category would be restricted from going to school for 14 days after their travel.  These new restrictions reflect the continued increase in the number of novel coronavirus cases occurring in China.

3.  My family travelled from China after February 2 and my child is required to self-quarantine for 14 days with monitoring by the Health Department. What should I do?

In these cases, the parent or guardian should contact the principal of the school immediately and maintain regular communication with the school throughout the duration of the absence. 

4.    Our family has recently traveled to China and returned to the US before the new restrictions were put in place on February 2. We decided to keep our child home from school for a period of time. What should I do? 

Public Health guidance does not recommend quarantine for individuals traveling from China prior to February 2. However, FCPS recognizes that some parents or guardians may choose to keep their child home for a period of time following travel to areas impacted by novel coronavirus. This decision is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian. Should the family elect to keep their child home, they should contact the principal of the school immediately to discuss their concerns and maintain regular communication with the school throughout the duration of the absence. 

5.    What about students or school staff who traveled to South Korea, Thailand, or another country where novel coronavirus cases have been identified? Can they attend school?

There are no travel restrictions from these countries and no limitation on students or staff attending school. The number of novel coronavirus infections in countries other than China remains very low.  

6.    What if a household member of a student or staff member recently traveled to China? Can they attend school? 

If the student or staff member has not traveled to China, and their household contact who returned from China within the past 14 days has no symptoms of novel coronavirus infection (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), there are no limitations for them to attend school. 

7.    Will FCPS be monitoring students or staff who have traveled to China and are allowed to attend school? 

FCPS is aware that the CDC and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have implemented enhanced health screenings (effective February 2, 2020); however, FCPS does not screen or monitor students or staff who have travelled internationally. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, FCPS will continue to work closely with the FCHD for guidance.

8.    Is my child at risk? What can I do to keep my child safe at school? 

The risk of novel coronavirus infection for students and for the U.S. population in general is considered by the CDC to be low. Specific questions may be directed to the Communicable Disease Nurse at the FCHD during business hours. The phone number is 703-267-3511.

During the winter season, many other viruses that cause respiratory illness, such as flu, are common. Precautions that are recommended for avoiding colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses include good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene: covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick.

9.    We have heard that FCPS students and staff may be planning to travel to China or students and staff from China may be visiting our schools in FCPS? How is this being monitored? 

FCPS regulation 3325, Short Term Student Visitations, provides guidance to principals when scheduling short term student visitations. As part of this process, Risk Management and the Office of ESOL Services monitor scheduled travel and visitations. FCPS has determined that there are currently no international visitations scheduled to or from China. Currently, the CDC has issued a travel warning for China to avoid all non-essential travel due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.   Student and staff safety is our priority and FCPS does not support visitations to areas impacted by novel coronavirus.  

10.    Who do I contact if I have questions? 

If you have questions about your child’s attendance at school, please contact the school directly. 
If parents or guardians have questions about the novel coronavirus illness or symptoms, or how to prevent respiratory infection, we encourage them to talk with a Communicable Disease Nurse at the Fairfax County Health Department during business hours. The phone number is 703-267-3511.

Message to Parents

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Fairfax County Public Schools and the Fairfax County Health Department sent the following information to parents on January 28: 

Dear FCPS Families and Staff,

In coordination with the Fairfax County Health Department, FCPS is closely monitoring the health crisis in China and any impact it may have locally.  Currently, there are no cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Fairfax County or in Virginia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. The Fairfax County Health Department is coordinating with state and local public health and safety partners to be prepared to take additional public health actions, as necessary, to keep the community safe.

We recognize that many of our families travel to China.  Any students or employees who recently traveled to China and are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, should stay home and contact their health care provider immediately.  Public Health guidance does not recommend quarantine of people from China or other countries who are well and have not had contact with a patient who has confirmed coronavirus disease.  

When a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to be concerned and to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. The Health Department has prepared a handout about coronavirus which is included with this message. Also, the most up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus outbreak can be found on the CDC website

During the winter season, other viruses that cause respiratory illness are common. Precautions that are recommended for avoiding colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses include good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene: covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick.

If you have questions about your child’s attendance at school, please contact the school directly. Starting on January 29, the Health Department will have an information line available during business hours for questions related to novel coronavirus illness or symptoms. The phone number is 703-267-3511.

This is an evolving situation and is constantly being reassessed. If the situation in Fairfax County changes, additional information will be shared with the FCPS community. 
 
Thank you for your cooperation. 


Sincerely,
Fairfax County Public Schools 

Fairfax County Health Department
 

Additional Resources

For updates and more information about novel coronavirus:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Virginia Department of Health

Fairfax County Health Department