Updated: March 13, 2020
The health, safety and well-being of our school community is paramount here at Chaparral Star Academy. We will continuously monitor and follow recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. State Department, Austin Public Health and other official sources.
CDC assigns risk levels to countries where outbreaks of Covid-19 are escalated and those with a level 2 or 3 designation are considered the most hazardous https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices. Staff, students and family members or visitors arriving from countries with a level 2 or 3 designation are required to self-isolate at their homes for 14 days before returning to school, with a doctor’s note. Day zero of the 14 day isolation period is the day leaving the restricted location. The self-isolation guidelines found here are applicable even if no symptoms are present:
Chaparral Star Academy Administration will diligently monitor the latest information from the official sources mentioned and relay as much to our school community.
Updated: March 2, 2020
Chaparral Star Academy is closely monitoring media reports and information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). While no cases have been suspected among our local community, we are following the guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency, Texas Health and Human Services and the CDC. Public health officials believe the risk to our school community is low at this time, but we understand that this is a source of concern to the community and will remain vigilant in monitoring and responding to this evolving situation.
Any decisions that may need to be made regarding a change to school operations will be done so with guidance from the CDC and local health officials, along with guidance and direction from the authorities at TEA.
How are we screening for Coronavirus?
Chaparral Star Academy is actively monitoring the health of our campus for any signs of the illness. To date, there have been no cases or suspected cases of coronavirus on our campus. Out of an abundance of caution, CSA staff utilizes a screening process for students or staff who has traveled to China within the past 14 days or who report to the front office with fever. The screening involves determining if the student or staff member has had any contact in the past 14 days with a person who may have coronavirus or who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
How and when would school closures be implemented?
School closures due to illness are not novel. In fact, several schools in Texas close for some amount of time nearly every year due to excessive absenteeism as a result of flu or other illnesses. Typically, schools close when absenteeism reaches 15 percent or higher. In this case, we will also follow the direction of local, state and federal health authorities should it be deemed prudent to close schools to limit the spread of infection.
Should Chaparral Star Academy close school for health purposes, we would immediately notify the Region 13 Education Service Center. The Education Service Centers are a critical conduit for the Texas Education Agency as the Texas Department of Emergency Management and other state agencies monitor the situation. In addition, Administration will post notice on the school website, social media, and through immediate “Simpletexting”.
If a school closes, the school will take appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the chances the illness will continue to spread after the campus is reopened. This includes disinfecting common spaces like bathrooms, and classrooms and also disinfecting shared schools supplies, like calculators, crayons, and desks.
In the case of widespread or prolonged closures, it is likely the Texas Education Agency would waive attendance requirements and could potentially even exempt campuses from state accountability ratings, as it did when Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands of students and educators in the Houston area in 2017.
In the case of school closures, would CSA provide an opportunity for virtual learning?
The challenge with virtual learning is that not every student has access to a device and connectivity to access lessons. The School would work to provide links to learning resources for elementary students on campus websites and, in the case of a prolonged closure, would encourage secondary teachers to provide assignments for students in 3rd through 12th grades with lessons and assignments through Google Classroom. However, the assignments will not be mandatory as we know not every student has the opportunity to access them.
As health and wellness continues to be a focus in our community, we ask our parents and guardians to partner with us to best ensure the health and safety of our students and staff by continuing to monitor their child’s health and keeping them home if they have a fever, have had a fever within the last 24 hours or may have an illness that could be contagious to others. It is CSA policy that students and staff with a fever of 100 degrees or greater must stay out of school and not participate in after-school activities until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. By doing this, the exposure of illness and the possibility of it spreading to well students and staff are minimized.
Additionally, Chaparral Star Academy strongly discourages future student/staff travel to an infected region until the virus is contained.
There are also everyday steps that can be taken by us all to help minimize the spread of illness. These steps and more information can be found a Centers for Disease Control website. Important actions include:
- Cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your elbow or upper arm when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain the flu virus.
- Proper and consistent hand washing is essential. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet if it is not automatic. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer; apply to the palm of one hand; rub hands together covering all surfaces until dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as germs spread this way.
- Avoid sharing objects. If an activity requires the passing around of an object, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you or your child gets sick with a respiratory illness, like flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading the illness. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
Resources for additional information:
Health authorities assure us that if we have not recently traveled to an infected region or come in contact with an individual infected with the Coronavirus, then we are relatively safe from infection. In the event that the Texas Education Agency hands down protocol that affects our school, you will receive immediate notification. We will post on our website, announce in social media, and provide an instant alert through “Simpletexting”. If you have not already done so, please join the group capable of receiving texts by texting joincsa to 8449476492.
In the meantime, medical authorities suggest the same practices that protect from flu:
Wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. If this is not an option, utilize an alcohol - based hand sanitizer. Maintain a distance of 3 ft. between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Cover mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when you sneeze or cough. Dispose of the tissue immediately. Stay home and keep students home who have a fever. If you or your child has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.