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New Hanover County Schools Releases Statement on COVID-19

 

As news continues to spread around the United States about the coronavirus, New Hanover County Schools is continuing to monitor information from federal, state, and local health officials. We want to assure the public that the district is being proactive in efforts to help prevent the spread of illness among our students and staff. 
 
“We are constantly monitoring guidance regarding COVID-19,” says New Hanover County Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Del Burns. “The situation is extremely fluid and changing rapidly. The district has open lines of communication with health and county officials regarding potential actions and next steps occurring within the Cape Fear region. NHCS will be utilizing the district website, Blackboard Connect, district social media, NHCS-TV, and our internal email to communicate updates.” 
 
New Hanover County Schools
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
 
This statement supersedes all previous communication. Please note that this information is accurate as of March 13, 2020 - 2:30 PM. We are continuing to monitor this evolving situation, and we will provide updates.
 
Best Foot Forward
 
March 13 event has been postponed. Organizers are researching alternative date and venue options.
 
NHCS-Sanctioned Field Trips
  • In-district NHCS sanctioned field trips will occur as scheduled except in-district field trips with more than 100 attendees. In-district field trips with more than 100 attendees are canceled.
  • All out-of-district NHCS sanctioned field trips are canceled as of Monday, March 16, 2020. Exceptions will be reviewed by the Interim Superintendent’s designee on a case-by-case basis per principal’s request.
 
Professional Development (PD)
  • In-district PD will be held as scheduled. It is strongly advised that virtual options be utilized when available. 
  • PD requiring out-of-district travel is canceled until further notice.
  • No new face-to-face PD is to be scheduled until further notice. 
  • Employee out-of-district travel is canceled until further notice.
 
District Events & Meetings
  • Scheduled district meetings and events will occur as planned until further notice except district meetings and events with more than 100 attendees. Scheduled district meetings and events with more than 100 attendees are canceled.
  • No new district meetings and events are to be scheduled until further notice.
  • All scheduled district meetings and events are subject to change.
  • In keeping with the guidance from state health officials, the following information must be provided to families when promoting the event: “Based on guidance from state health officials, events that attract crowds should be avoided by those aged 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions and those who are ill.”
     

School Events & Meetings

  • Meetings and events at individual schools (i.e., concerts, family engagement events, parent conferences, open houses) may be held as scheduled at the discretion of the principal. Meetings and events are not to exceed 100 attendees.

  • In keeping with the guidance from state health officials, the following information must be provided to families when promoting the event: “Based on guidance from state health officials, events that attract crowds should be avoided by those aged 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions and those who are ill.”

 
Facility Use
  • Facility use of NHCS buildings is canceled effective March 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
  • There will be no new building rentals until further notice. 
  • Outdoor venues may be available according to regular rental terms.
 

Athletic Events

  • All athletic events are canceled until further notice. This includes informal practices, captain practices, planned pick-up games, etc.

 
School Volunteers/Visitors
  • At this time, volunteers and visitors are limited to those with specific responsibilities and functions as defined by the principal.
  • Volunteers/visitors who are experiencing symptoms of any illness or possible direct exposure should refrain from visiting schools.
  • Volunteers/visitors are encouraged to consider the following: “Based on guidance from state health officials, events that attract crowds should be avoided by those aged 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions and those who are ill.”
 
Student Attendance
  • Students are expected to be in school each day unless ill or unable to attend due to an unavoidable reason. Students experiencing the following symptoms should not attend school until they are symptom-free for 24 hours. 
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
    • Scratchy or sore throat
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever
  • Parents of students with serious medical conditions should determine whether their child should attend school based on recommendations by their health care provider.

While there have been no cases reported in New Hanover County at this time, we want to remind everyone that we are doing everything possible to keep our campuses and buildings safe for everyone. We are asking students, staff, and the community to follow good respiratory etiquette and personal hygiene to prevent the spread of any illnesses. Some tips from health officials include:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops, and daily work surfaces).
  • Stay home and away from others when you are sick.
  • Practice social distancing by using fist bumps or elbows instead of shaking hands or hugs.