FCPS School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders Statement

Statement on Coronavirus Outbreak

We want to share with you information regarding a matter of great concern to all of us -- the emerging threat from the COVID-19.
 
We are pleased with our school district's collaborative efforts with state and county public health officials to keep our schools safe. We learned from the Health Department this weekend that the risk to the general public remains low - even though we now have two confirmed cases in the county. 
 
The Health Department continues to work aggressively to identify anyone who's potentially been infected or exposed to a person with the illness. These investigations help officials to determine whether or not there are public health measures that need to be taken to reduce risk of community spread- or transmission- of illness to others.  
 
FCPS has been- and will continue to- communicate the most up-to-date information available to our community- including parents, families, students, and staff. We will work proactively to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
 
I know our classroom teachers are working hard each day to maintain routines in our schools as normalcy can be a great source of reassurance to children.
 
We are refining our plans for providing instructional support opportunities in the event of school closure and have posted a video update we received from FCPS staff at our School Board Work Session today.   
 
We are hopeful that we will not need to close a school due to COVID-19, but that decision would be made in coordination with health officials.  
 
There are no specific rules on what the County Health Department will recommend if we do start to see cases of Covid-19 directly impact our schools. It is entirely situational and we would be focused on mitigation and containment strategies to prevent the spread of disease.

A FCPS COVID response team has been established to address new questions that have emerged, review current guidance from the health professionals, to evaluate our current response and to provide updates to the community.
 
Our overall goal would be to do all we can to maintain continuity of operations while minimizing student and staff exposure. 

We recognize the importance of the free and reduced meals to our students and families and the planning scenarios include how the food programs could be maintained if the coronavirus impacts school operations.
 
I understand the anxiety that news and developments related to COVID-19 can cause in children. There a great resource on our website from the National Association of School Psychologists that can be used when having discussions with children: Talking to Children About COVID-19. We are committed to communicating regularly through multiple channels including email, text, phone calls, print media, social media and other outlets. 
 
Of special importance is to remember that transmission of the coronavirus is not based on a person's race or country of origin. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another.
 
Thank you for your understanding. Together we will work through this health crisis. Stay calm, and stay informed.