LIVINGSTON, NJ — In recognition of the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) evolving list of “areas of concern” following the Coronavirus outbreak, Livingston Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Block announced on Tuesday that the district is "planning for various scenarios," but is hopeful that all Livingston Public Schools (LPS) "will remain healthy places" if the district sticks to its protocols and continues to "cooperate with [the] greater school community."

Noting that LPS is currently following all recommendations of the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) with regard to the district’s flu and virus prevention practices, Block is urging all Livingston families to help keep the schools “as healthy and safe as possible during flu and virus season." 

“Particularly during cold, flu and virus season, it is essential that students stay home when they have any symptoms of illness,” said Block. “Even if a student feels that he or she can 'push through' the illness and make it through the school day, everyone needs to consider the greater community when we make personal choices."

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The superintendent also reiterated his previous request that all families with a child who has traveled within the past two weeks to an impacted area contact their child’s principal and/or school nurse.

At the CDC’s recommendation, Block said the district has begun planning for possible future scenarios that may require additional action. He also said the district is "working very closely with medical professionals and local health officials" and is "staying abreast of any new information and alerts.”

According to Block, the LPS district currently has intensive cleaning protocols in place and is deep cleaning the schools on weekends. Foaming hand sanitizer is also available throughout all district buildings, and faculty members are consistently encouraging students to "practice healthy habits" such as washing their hands.

“No matter what the illness, the number one preventative measure that is recommended by all health professionals is washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds,” said Block. “We do ask that families remind children about good hand-washing practices. We certainly plan to remind students to wash their hands at school.”

In a letter distributed to parents over the weekend, Block stated that although it is important to be vigilant, it is equally crucial that the community “remain calm and thoughtful.”

He reminded all residents that there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in New Jersey and that the majority of the confirmed cases in the United States originated on one cruise ship.

“If we go about our lives—which is recommended—and visit public places, we most likely will come in contact with people that have traveled abroad to some of the identified areas,” he said. “Awareness, positive personal health habits, and proactive communication are our best tools to remain as healthy as possible. We are confident that our schools remain safe and healthy places, and we will continue to work each day to maintain that status moving forward.”

As he urged residents once again to contact the principal or nurse of any child who may have been exposed prior to sending him or her back to school, Block also noted there are “some simple behaviors that are particularly effective at preventing the flu and other viruses,” which are shared below:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. 
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially with a fever. 
  • Avoid people who are sick. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.  

Block reiterated that the district will work with individual families and health professionals “to determine appropriate timelines and processes for reentry to school for children who have traveled to impacted areas.”

“We appreciate all of the families that have provided us with notification to this point,” he said. “Communication and cooperation is key to making our protocols as effective as possible.”

More information will be shared as it becomes available.