COVID-19 Update - Thursday, March 12
As you may have already heard, Amesbury High School had an early dismissal today and will be closed tomorrow. We have a student who is experiencing flu-like symptoms; in an abundance of caution, we made the decision to close the high school early today and tomorrow, and we will be doing a deep cleaning over the next three days. We would like to be clear that this is not a confirmed case of COVID-19; the student is being tested for the coronavirus and we hope to have results over the weekend.
At this time there are no plans to close any of our other schools, as the high school student with symptoms does not have siblings in any other school. Our Health Director and Public Health Nurse are currently creating a list of those who may have had close contact with this student; if the test comes back positive for COVID-19, further steps will be taken. We understand some parents may have concerns about our other schools; we are making the decision on this matter based on the information we have and on recommendation from our Health Department. We understand that you may choose to keep your child home from school.
The City of Amesbury and the Amesbury Public Schools are taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously. We recognize that many people are understandably nervous and concerned, and we want to be clear that our first priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. We are working closely with the City of Amesbury Health Department, the Mayor’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who are all in contact with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In all of our schools, we have increased our cleaning and disinfecting procedures. We have purchased electrostatic sprayers for each school to disinfect the buildings, and we are working closely with our cleaning services to ensure our schools are appropriately cleaned. We are also limiting access and visitors to our schools, including adult basketball, sports tryouts and more.
We understand that early dismissals and closures can be disruptive, however, we truly believe that these measures are necessary to keep everyone safe and to slow any possible spread of the Coronavirus. If we should need to close all schools for any length of time, we will share that decision as early as possible, and discuss alternative methods for teaching and learning. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is requiring all schools complete their scheduled 185th day, and no school will be required to be in session after June 30th. This flexibility allows us to make the best decisions for our district when it comes to health and wellness.
As of right now, all district field trips through March are cancelled. We will continue to keep a close eye on this situation and will make decisions on field trips for future dates as we get closer to those dates.
We will continue to encourage all parents and students take precautionary measures to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, preferably with a tissue or into your sleeve. Throw used tissues into the trash and immediately wash your hands.
- Avoid sharing cups, utensils, dishes, towels and other items
- Clean and disinfect frequently, especially often used surfaces like door handles, telephones and railings
- Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick
- Notify the school nurse if your student is being kept home because they feel sick or display symptoms
This situation is changing quickly, and we will work to keep everyone informed as we know more and as decisions are made. We know many of you will have questions, which we will work to answer, but again please know that decisions made are in the best interest of our students and our staff.