WESTFIELD, NJ — Custodians in the Westfield Public School District have stepped up cleaning in light of national concerns about the novel coronavirus, and district officials are asking parents not to send their children to school if they are sick, the superintendent said.
“Our custodians continue to provide a higher level of cleaning as they do during all flu seasons,” Superintendent Margaret Dolan said in a message to parents Thursday. “You can help us by not sending children to school when they are sick.”
In light of state and federal officials expanding the request that those people who have traveled to Italy, Iran and South Korea — in addition to China — self-quarantine for 14 days, Dolan asked that students who have returned from those countries also not come to school for the 14-day time.
“I would ask all parents who have traveled to these countries to follow the requirement to self-quarantine and to contact the principal or nurse in your child’s school if a student has traveled to an area of the world that has been highly impacted by coronavirus,” Dolan stated.
On Friday, The Westfield Area YMCA informed members that in light of concerns about the virus, also called COVID-19, the facility has installed additional hand sanitizer stations and that it continues to use the upgraded cleaning procedures it has in place during the flu season.
“Our air systems at the Main Y Facility, Bauer Branch and Early Learning Center continue to purify the air by eliminating pathogens and airborne particulates,” the YMCA said in an email to its membership.
The notifications come with 164 “confirmed and presumptive positive cases” of COVID-19 reported nationwide in 19 states and 11 deaths from disease nationwide as of Friday afternoon, according to the CDC.
Two residents in Bergen County — one in Englewood and another in Fort Lee — were among those people reported to have tested positive for the virus, multiple news reports said.
Also on Friday, the state Department of Education announced guidance for school districts.
The guidance provides that “any day in which students impacted by a public health-related closure have access to home instruction services provided consistent with the guidance will count as a day in which the board of education has provided public school facilities toward its compliance with the 180-day requirement.”
The DOE statement indicated that health officials might also call to limit attendance at certain school functions.
“While there are no immediate plans to implement such a system, health officials may also call for a tiered system of social distancing in schools, possibly limiting certain functions such as sports events and assemblies in order to limit the risk of exposure,” the release said.
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