UTICA, N.Y. -- Utica School District Superintendent Bruce Karam sent out letters to 11,000 parents and students, as well as an additional 1,800 staff and teachers. The letter is intended to inform everyone of the best preventative measures to protect against respiratory diseases like the coronavirus or the flu.
"Back in February we started actually cleaning buildings with new types of cleaning equipment. We’re using disinfectants in certain areas, in common areas, in classrooms in the buildings, on a more rigorous basis now," said Karam.
The school district is disinfecting all the schools using a fogging machine, much like the ones being used in China. While there hasn’t been any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oneida County, the school district isn’t taking any chances with the safety of students and staff.
"Scientists don’t know enough about it, and I think we’re still learning every day. You know there isn’t a cause to panic, but I think it’s very prudent to be as careful and as preventative as we possibly can to avoid getting sick," said Karam.
The letter basically outlines the best preventative actions:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
"I think out of this the students are getting some lessons too… about health care that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives, and some of the tips in there I think are very smart and wise tips, and I think it’s a good thing to reiterate with the students. I think it’s a good lifetime lesson," Karam added.
In addition to the letter, the Utica School District will be conducting 13 individual staff meetings to provide more comprehensive information about the coronavirus. The meetings will hopefully dispel any rumors, and to avoid any panic.