MORRISTOWN, NJ - In a letter to parents and guardians, Mackey Pendergrast, Superintendent of Schools for the Morris School District, gave an update regarding the Coronavirus and how the district intends to respond to the virus.

The purpose of the letter, Pendergrast stated was to "provide an update in light of the CDC’s February 25th announcement that schools should begin preparing in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the United States". 

 "This is a rapidly evolving situation, and, therefore, it is important that we have procedures in place to ensure the health and safety of our district community and to minimize disruption to our students’ education," wrote Pendergrast.  "Over the last two weeks, we have begun contingency planning in the event that COVID-19 manifests itself more prominently in NJ". 

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The contingency plans for the Morris School District involves the following:

  • Centralized communication to families and staff via the District website, social media, and alert system (SwiftK12) to provide regular updates

  • Appropriate disinfection of facilities and materials daily

  • Virtual accommodations via school-issued chrome-books or other devices to enable instruction to continue

  • Close partnership with state and local health agencies and local government

"We will continue to refine our contingency planning as we receive new information from the NJ Department of Education, the Department of Health, and other authorities so that we can best meet the needs of our students, families, and staff," continued Pendergrast. "Please be aware that outbreaks involving COVID-19 evolve quickly, and recommendations from public health officials may change frequently".

"If your child or members of your immediate family have recently traveled to a part of the world (China, South Korea, northern Italy, Iran, etc.) that is currently experiencing higher rates of infection, please contact your child’s school nurse to discuss their status", he wrote. 

The CDC has stated that the best protection against transmission is frequent handwashing.  The CDC also recommends the following:

  • Keep children home when they are sick, especially if they present with fever (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.7 C).  Children should be fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours before returning to school.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The district will continue to monitor the situation and will follow recommendations offered by the NJ Department of Education and Department of Health.

"Schools will continue to operate as normal unless we receive new direction from the State," concluded Pendergrast.  "As always, our counselors are available to support any child who feels anxious or worried about COVID-19". 


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