Dear Parent or Guardian:
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued the spread worldwide and is now being found across the United States. Mississippi School of the Arts has created a plan to prepare aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi Department of Education.
- The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) causes a febrile respiratory
syndrome, similar to influenza.
- Many cases may have mild symptoms.
- Severe cases may occur, leading to respiratory failure and death, especially among older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
- The vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 will fully recover.
- The virus is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
- There is no antiviral treatment or vaccine currently available for COVID-19.
Mississippi School of the Arts is following the essential elements of CDC guidance for preventing the spread of illness in schools and the workplace, which is summarized below and is online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html.
The Mississippi School of the Arts is implementing the following CDC Recommended Strategies:
Mississippi School of the Arts has sanitizer stations in the cafeteria and the nurse’s station. Each office and classroom is equipped with a sanitizer bottle as well. Disinfectant spray is being utilized daily for all doorknobs, light fixtures, keyboards, and desks on campus.
Employees and students who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are requested to stay home and not come to work or school until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
Mississippi School of the Arts has handwashing posters throughout the campus at sinks to encourage proper sanitary approaches with handwashing. The plan of action has been emailed and distributed to all students and staff. The State of Mississippi has an app for up-to-date information on any illnesses or public health issues for students and staff to access – MSReady. Additionally, staff and students can access the CDC website for timely information: www.cdc.gov
Employees and students are being reminded to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
In addition to the preventative measures in place, regular temporal fever checks will be made by staff of students in the immediate threat. Anyone who has fever will be immediately isolated for further evaluation.
The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
Due to the Coronavirus and the residential nature of Mississippi School of the Arts students and staff who display symptoms will be isolated. The local health department will be contacted for assessment. Upon determination of results, the patient will either be quarantined locally or sent home until fever free for at least 24 hours.
Students who are absent with an illness requiring quarantine for two weeks or more will be afforded alternative assignments and opportunities to recover their work for course credit. No penalties toward honors status or other recognition will be issued for illness.
If necessary, Mississippi School of the Arts will work with the county health department and the MSDH to determine when it is appropriate to close the school.
Upon removal of students or staff who test positive, disinfection protocols will be increased. Within privacy laws and confidentiality, public health notices will be issued. Prevention protocols will continue to be followed.
As always, the safety and security of the students at Mississippi School of the Arts remain our highest priority, and we will take every step necessary to ensure their health and well-being. Further updates or development regarding how COVID-19 may affect our school will be sent to you via email and posted on our website, www.msabrookhaven.org.
For questions about COVID-19, a call center at the Mississippi State Department of Health is now available for the general public at (877) 978-6453.