Below, you will find information we received via the Grand Rapids Public Schools. In addition, we suggest doing all you can to boost your own very powerful immune system!
- Eat healthy! Greens, fresh fruit, lean meats, and healthy snacks like cut veggies, nuts, and seeds.
- Drink water, half your weight in ounces of water every day, e.g. if you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces. Avoid pop and energy drinks.
- Avoid sugar! It’s a stressor to your immune system. Read the labels on things like tomato soup and yogurt so you are not eating hidden sugars.
- Avoid chemical additives and preservatives which also tax your body.
- Get enough sleep! Eight hours a night for adults, more for kids.
- Exercise! Especially if you are stressed out. Take a walk. Dance in your kitchen.
- Enjoy fresh air and sunshine whenever possible.
- Try mindfulness, guided meditation or prayer to further relax, de-stress, and create good intentions for your health.
The Grand Rapids Public Schools received the following communication from the Kent County Health Department at 1:33 PM on March 11, 2020.
KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
700 Fuller NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Adam London, PhD, R.S., D.A.A.S.
Administrative Health Officer
Nirali Bora, M.D.
HEALTH UPDATE March 10, 2020
Update for Kent County Schools on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
March 11, 2020
Partner in Health:
As partners in protecting the health and safety of our children and families, below you will find a brief situational update as well as current recommendations for school administrators and decision-makers based on guidance from the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). Please understand that this is a rapidly evolving situation and KCHD will continue to communicate with you as information changes.
WHAT IS KNOWN
- The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified and causes a respiratory illness ranging from a mild cold-like illness to severe pneumonia.
- More than 80% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in China had mild disease.
- Similar to influenza, the people who are most likely to have severe disease and complications from COVID-19 are older individuals (>60 years old) and those with other medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes.
- There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19.
- Currently, there are 2 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan. At this time cases are in Wayne and Oakland Counties.
- Currently, there is NO confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Kent County, but experts predict there will eventually be community spread.
HOW THE VIRUS SPREADS
- COVID-19 is believed to spread primarily the same way the common cold or flu spreads—through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes.
- People who are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within about 6 feet) with someone who has the disease.
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread of the virus might be possible before a person has symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO NOW, PRIOR TO LOCAL COMMUNITY SPREAD
- Implement your annual seasonal influenza plan.
- Students and staff who are ill, especially with fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home.
- Review sick policies for staff; ensure staff can stay home when ill.
- Ensure prescribed cleaning is happening at school facilities (routine disinfectants are appropriate).
- Enhance cleaning of high touch surfaces like door knobs, toilet handles, and sink handles.
- Ensure that hand sanitizer, soap/paper towels and tissues are widely available in school facilities.
- Remind students to cover their coughs/sneezes with a tissue or their elbow.
- Plan for when community spread occurs (non-pharmaceutical interventions or NPIs).
- Ensure parents/guardians have a plan to designate a caregiver who is under the age of 60 for a sick child(ren) if parents/guardians can’t stay home.
- Look for opportunities to address food insecurity for families who rely on schools for breakfast and/or lunch.
- Identify at-home learning opportunities during student absences or school closures.
- Identify how the school will communicate updates to parents/guardians.
- For more information about use of NPIs to respond to pandemics, visit https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/.
WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO WHEN COMMUNITY SPREAD OCCURS
- Continue to ensure that soap/paper towels, hand sanitizer, and tissues are widely available in school facilities. Regular hand hygiene should be built into the daily routine.
- Consider limiting the number of people that have contact with students in the school building including parents or volunteers during the school day and gatherings that occur in the school building during non-school hours.
- Consider having students eat meals in the classroom or in smaller cohorts in the lunchroom
- Avoid assemblies and multiple class activities to limit non-essential contact between students in large gatherings.
- Consider canceling or postponing events that bring groups of families and students into more frequent contact with each other.
- Have a separate room for sick children to be in while waiting for a caregiver to pick them up if they become ill during the school day.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ADMINISTRATORS BEFORE CLOSING SCHOOLS FOR COVID-19
- The Kent County Health Department would recommend the closure of schools only if there is an imminent public health threat created by the schools being open.
- Careful consideration for school closure recommendations will take into account the severity of disease, benefits to public health, impact on student learning, families, childcare, school staff and the economy.
- Closing schools could potentially accelerate the transmission of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable people (e.g. older adults and those with chronic health conditions) if individuals from these categories, such as grandparents, are used as caregivers during a school closure or if children will congregate in other settings.
- Schools in Kent County considering closure due to COVID-19 (or other infectious diseases) should work with KCHD before closing. Please contact KCHD if you are considering closing a school.
KCHD staff are working day and night to monitor this evolving situation and will continue to provide new information to the community as things change. If you have questions or are seeing increases in illness and would like to consult with our team, please call us (616) 632-7228 or the numbers below.
For up-to-date information, please visit our website at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/coronavirus.htm
Joann Hoganson, MSN, RN
Director of Community Wellness, Kent County Health Department
Liaison to schools