Dear Students, Families, and Staff,
Over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) confirmed several new presumptive cases of COVID-19.
The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 is in our community. Updated guidance from OHA is that closing schools may not be an effective method for stopping the spread of the virus. This is the same stance currently being taken by many school districts in other communities around the country and around the world.
The best prevention is still practicing good health hygiene habits – washing your hands frequently, covering your cough or sneeze, getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet – and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic. The best way to limit spread is staying home when ill.
I know you likely have many questions and we will attempt to answer some of them below. Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at healthoregon.org/coronavirus or by calling 211.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep our students and staff healthy and safe. Thank you for your partnership in that effort.
Q. Why wouldn’t you close schools to avoid having so many people in one place?
A. Updated guidance from the Oregon Health Authority is that, because COVID-19 is in the community, closing a school may not be an effective method of stopping the spread of the virus. There is concern that people would not actually remain in their homes for 14 days, and in the case of children, depending on who their caregiver is, having them home may put that person at greater risk of contracting the virus.
Our schools are not only places where learning can continue, but where our students can be supported, supervised, and fed, which is a necessity for many families.
We will continue with enhanced cleaning efforts, reinforcing health hygiene expectations with students, and asking students and staff to stay home if they are ill. Those actions are thought to be the most beneficial in keeping people healthy and stopping the spread of the virus.
All information sent to parents and staff from the Neah-Kah-Nie School District, can be found in the NKN Coronavirus Folder in the gray bar at the bottom of every page of our website: www.nknsd.org
Paul Erlebach, Superintendent
Neah-Kah-Nie School District