COVID-19 Information

  • Topeka Public Schools understands the growing concern surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across our community.  The health and safety of our students, families, and staff remains our top priority.  We have been actively preparing our staff to identify possible students with the COVID-19 virus and to prevent transmission of this virus.

     

    A Note to Our Higher Risk Students and their Families:

    As the virus continues to spread, we want to protect and safeguard our most vulnerable students – those with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.  This includes students with cancer, organ transplant, immune system deficiency, and others.

    How is our staff being trained?

    Our health clinic staff has been trained in Infection Control practices, Standard Precautions, and hand hygiene.

    As the situation evolves, we are keeping up with and following the recommendations of the Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

     How is Topeka Public Schools preparing for COVID-19?

    • Our primary duty is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students and staff by preventing the spread of the infection.
    • We are continuously monitoring, reviewing and improving our response for preventing the spread of COVID-19
    • We are keeping all staff updated with any new recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19
    • We are encouraging staff who are sick to stay home
    • We are increasing awareness of all of our staff to be alert to signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • We continue to practice safe hand hygiene in all of our health clinics

    COVID-19 Symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Dry Cough
    • Shortness of Breath/Difficulty Breathing

    The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. 

    Practice Everyday Prevention:

    As you touch people, surfaces, and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands.  You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

     

    Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19), you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. 

    The CDC and WHO recommend following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses, such as:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Wash your 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 sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Always wash your hands if they are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes
    • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you are sick.

    Informative Website Links:

    cdc.gov

    kdhe.ks.gov

    snco.us/hd/

    who.int

     

    Family Action Plan:

    KDHE flyer (see attachment)

    Stop the Spread of Germs:

    Flyers – English/Spanish (see attachment)

    Cleaning Products:

    EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use against Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-againsears-cov-2

     

    FAQ’s:

    • What is COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in China in December 2019.  COVID-19 has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some cases.

    • How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that become airborne when someone coughs or sneezes.  In order to be infected people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with the respiratory droplets.  It is also possible to get COVID-19 by touching hard surfaces or objects that have the virus on them and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes. 

    • What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of Breath/Difficulty Breathing
    • Runny Nose

     

    • How long does it take for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear?

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

    • How is COVID-19 treated?

    There is currently no FDA approved medication or vaccine for COVID-19.  People infected with this virus should receive treatment of symptoms including rest, fluid, fever control medication. 

    • Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

    At this time, there is not an FDA approved vaccine to prevent or treat COVID-19. 

    • How can I protect my family and myself?
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, face with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with others, maintaining a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others.
    • Don’t share personal items such as eating utensils and drinking glasses.
    • Stay home when you are not feeling well.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Standard household cleaner and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Get a Flu shot – the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals, if prescribed by your physician.
    • Stay informed

     

    • Should I wear a face mask?

    If you are sick:  you should wear a facemask when you are around other people (such as sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter your physician’s office.  If you are not able to wear a facemask, then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if the enter your room.

     If you are not sick: you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick and they are unable to wear a facemask.  Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

    • What should I do if I have flu-like symptoms and think I may have been exposed to COVID-19?

    Based on your symptoms, do the following:

    • Continue to monitor your symptoms
    • Stay isolated
    • If you’re concerned you have COVID-19, it is recommended you start with a phone call to your doctor. You will be advised on what to do next.
    • Call ahead before going in person to your doctor or to the Emergency Department.
    • If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, a severe headache or other potentially life-threatening problems, go to the nearest emergency department of call 9-1-1.

     

    • What is the difference between COVID-19 and Influenza (Flu)?

    COVID-19 is caused by one virus, the novel (new) 2019 coronavirus, now called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or SARS-COV2.

    Influenza (flu) is caused by any of several different types and strains of influence viruses.

    We will be updating this information as new details become available.  If you have questions or concerns about this information, please contact:


    Misty Getsinger, RN

    Occupational Health Nurse

    785.295.3937

     

    Lori Vawter, RN

    Coordinator of Nursing Services

    785.295.3093

     

     

    References:

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organization

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/school

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing

    https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19

    https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-againsears-cov-2

    https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus-symptoms-vs-cold

    https://www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-symptoms

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-disease

    https://www.kdhe.ks.gov

    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/landing/preparing-for-coronavirus

    https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-cold-symptoms

    https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/urgent-care/flu-or-coronavirus