One presumptive case of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has been reported in New Orleans. While local health officials currently believe the risk is low for the general public to contract coronavirus, the Waldorf School of New Orleans continues to take all the necessary precautions to lessen the impact to our students, faculty and staff.
A task force has been formed to coordinate all aspects of coronavirus communications, plans, protocol and decision making. This group, which consists of administration, faculty and parent representatives, will act quickly and rationally in response to a rapidly changing landscape. The members have the skills, ability and time to execute the various aspects required to manage the process.
Currently, faculty and staff routinely are cleaning surfaces and door handles with disinfecting wipes. Toys and other objects will be sanitized at the end of each school day. Students also are being instructed to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves or count to 20 while washing their hands. In addition, a deep cleaning of both the main and Peniston campuses will be scheduled.
Should the threat of the coronavirus increase in New Orleans, we would follow the dictates of the Orleans Parish School Board regarding school closures, which is our normal procedure. The task force is finalizing a contingency plan to provide instruction for students should the school have to close for a long period of time. It also is monitoring and following recommendations from federal, state and local health officials.
For now, it is important that we continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for preventing the respiratory illness:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Please reinforce these recommendations with your children and monitor their engagement with the topic. It’s important to help them understand what they are seeing and hearing. Click the following link to read the Waldorf School of Philadelphia’s excellent guide on how to talk to your children about the coronavirus outbreak.
You can find local information about COVID-19 at Nola Ready.
If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.