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February 28, 2020

Dear Shrewsbury Families and Staff,

With the 2019-20 influenza (flu) season still in full swing, and daily news reports regarding the worldwide status of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are reaching out to reassure the Shrewsbury Public Schools community that the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority.  The CDC continues to report that the risk COVID-19 poses to the general public remains low at this time. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we are closely monitoring information that is available to us from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and our local health department, and we are following their recommendations. 

To date, our surveillance of illness within the district has shown low levels of flu and other illnesses such as the common cold, “stomach bug,” and sore throats.  We monitor illnesses at school by tracking calls that are made to child-safe lines across the district. When calling your child out sick, please include information about any fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, sore throat, or diagnosed illness, and any recent travel in your message.  We appreciate your help with this.

The CDC and MDPH offer many resources regarding both flu and coronavirus that you may find helpful. Their recommendations for everyday preventive actions to protect against flu and coronavirus are the same as for many other illnesses and include:

  • good handwashing with soap and water, or alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • stay away from people who are sick
  • clean and disinfect commonly touched objects that may be contaminated by germs
  • Stay home from school or work when you are sick to avoid infecting others

We have also been in communication with the Shrewsbury Public Buildings Division regarding day-to-day cleaning practices that cleaning service contractors and custodians provide for our schools, with an emphasis on maintaining a sanitary environment, especially with surface cleaning.  

Children may be alarmed by what they are seeing or hearing about coronavirus on the news, on social media, and/or at home and school. Reassuring children and empowering them with the everyday things (above) that they can do can help.  Here is some advice about talking to children and easing their fears.

District leadership receives updated information from the MDPH and CDC as it is available and we will continue to make any policy decisions regarding flu and coronavirus based on that guidance.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to Noelle Freeman, Director of School Nursing, at 508-841-1226 or nfreeman@shrewsbury.k12.ma.us if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you for your help in keeping our students and staff healthy and safe.  We will update families and staff as the evolution of this situation warrants.

Respectfully,

Noelle Freeman, RN

Director of School Nursing

Timothy Gibson, MD

School Physician

Joseph M. Sawyer, Ed.D.                    

Superintendent