KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — Local school district officials say they are working to develop plans and implement strategies and preventative measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time no local school closures or extended spring breaks have been announced.
Forney ISD, who was out this week for Spring Break, says they spent the week disinfecting campus facilities and buses and have asked faculty and staff to self-report to the district about Spring Break travel to affected parts of the country or internationally. Those who participated in cruise travel were also asked to disclose their destinations to district personnel.
Beginning today, Forney ISD is asking students and parents to begin self reporting their Spring break travel in anticipation for classes resuming on Monday.
“Our executive management task force has been meeting daily over Spring Break to ensure that we are prepared for what is a fluid and unprecedented situation and doing our best to ensure our students return to classes on Monday safely,” Kristin Zastoupil, the district’s Executive Director of Communications tells inForney.com.
In an email sent to parents today, the districts says the health and safety of students and staff is paramount, and is asking asked staff to self-report any travel to a CDC country with a level 2 or 3 Travel Health Alert prior to their return on Monday.
"We’re also asking for your help in self-reporting travel of parents, guardians and students here.
As of March 5, 2020, the CDC has identified four countries for which it has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice - China, Iran, South Korea and Italy - and one level 2 notice - Japan. A person who travels to or through those countries while a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is in effect is encouraged to stay home and monitor his or her health for 14 days after the person leaves that country.
Forney ISD is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. At this time, no cases have been confirmed in Kaufman County. The majority of cases that have been confirmed in the U.S. are related to travel to/from countries where there is widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
We encourage everyone in our community to go to the CDC’s website for factual, up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
This situation is fluid and may change with very little notice in the coming weeks.
As part of our continued efforts to ensure the health and well-being of our school community, we have established a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Executive Task Force. Each day, this group is monitoring the potential impact coronavirus could have on Forney ISD Schools.
Additionally, the district has launched www.forneyisd.net/healthupdate and will post district updates, resources and answers to your frequently asked questions as new information is made available, including information on preventative measures taken by the district," the letter read.
Terrell ISD will have Spring Break next week. In the event that break has to be extended, the district is planning in advance.
“Every single department throughout Terrell ISD is working to make sure that we have plans and resources in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” says Olivia Rice, Terrell ISD Director of Communications.
"Our team is currently formulating plans relating to student nutrition and meal service, development and access to instructional materials, as well as determining next steps. These plans are purely precautionary, and our hope is that we do not have to put this plan into action. We want to assure our families and community that we are being thoughtful and prepared as the safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff are our top priority," Rice tells inForney.com.
Over spring break ABM, the District’s custodial provider, is conducting thorough cleanings of all District facilities, which include deep cleanings of classrooms and high frequency touch points according to the district.
"Additionally, the District has requested ABM begin routinely utilizing an electrostatic air disinfection and sanitization system, which sprays all surfaces with a high-powered disinfecting solution. All District buses and vehicles also receive routine deep cleanings and sanitization. As an added precautionary measure, the District is ensuring that every classroom is equipped with hand sanitizer and other necessary cleaning and hygiene supplies," the district said in a statement to inForney.com
Kaufman ISD, who is also on spring break next week has posted their response plan on the districts' website.
According to the district, “custodial staff will perform extra cleaning of schools and district offices, and school bus drivers have been asked to clean bus interiors. If needed, the district has access to large-scale outside vendors who can deep-clean classrooms and schools.”
All three districts say that they will continue to monitor the situation with local health authorities, the CDC and the Texas Education Agency and make changes or adjustments as necessary.