SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – With two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Georgia and one in North Carolina, some local school districts are gearing up for the potential of it spreading to our area.
7 News spoke with school officials in Spartanburg County about what steps they’re taking to ensure your children are safe.
“Education is very important. We’re in the business of education, but health and safety. That’s our first priority,” Spartanburg County School District 6’s Cynthia Robinson said.
When it comes to students’ health, those who work in Spartanburg County schools don’t mess around.
“Administrators in this district look at children as if they are their own,” Robinson said.
“Our schools already, every day, are cleaned to the highest standards that you can possibly think of,” Spartanburg County School District 5’s Melissa Robinette added.
In fact, the school system already has a strict flu protocol that their cleaning staffs follow.
“We use hospital-grade wipes and spray for all contact areas in all 15 of our schools,” Robinson said.
But with talk of the Coronavirus, they’re going even further, as a precaution.
“This is something new and so parents’ natural reaction is that they’re really concerned and want to panic, but we want to calm those fears,” Robinette said.
“We will never knowingly put our children at risk. If that includes cancelling field trips, that’s something that we’ll have to do,” Robinson said. “We’re taking a look at all of the different options that we have, should the Coronavirus come this direction.”
The schools have hand sanitizer and disinfectants placed throughout their facilities. They’re also offering additional cleaning supplies to teachers.
They recommend coughing into your sleeve and washing your hands religiously.
“It’s not a quick three-second deal and you’re done. You really have to wash thoroughly for 20 seconds,” Robinette said.
Lyman Elementary School shared this hand-washing video on their Facebook page:
And, they said, don’t feel pressured to send your kids to school.
“If they’re not feeling well, please do not come to school. It is not going to count against you,” Robinson said.
“If they’ve had a temperature, they need to be rid of that temperature for 24 hours before you send them back to school,” Robinette added.
District 6 has shared a list of DHEC guidelines they’re following. Click here to read those.
We reached out to other local school districts to see how they’re preparing for the potential spread of Coronavirus.
Spartanburg County School District 3 sent us the following statement:
“District Three follows the DHEC guidelines and CDC protocol. This is the specific over-arching guidance we’re following and sharing with concerned parents, although we like to emphasize that there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Carolina at this time.
District Three will continue to follow the news reports and track the situation through trustworthy sources: our local health department, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the South Carolina Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on the current information, health officials are recommending local communities and schools should take the same steps to protect against coronavirus COVID-19 as we take to prevent the spread of everyday illnesses like the common cold or the flu. We encourage students and staff to stay home if they’re ill to try to stop the spread of infection, and always encourage hand-washing and coughing into one’s arms or sleeves. We keep hand sanitizer and tissues in every room, disinfect with wipes often and clean rooms daily.”
Spartanburg County School District 2 sent us the following statement:
“We have measures in place for both prevention and response to address infectious disease. Our School Nurses and Administrators work hard to educate our students and staff in ways that they can stop the spread of contagions, and our custodial staff work to clean and disinfect all areas of schools daily. In the occasion that a response to an outbreak of any kind is needed, we work closely with both the South Carolina Department of Education and DHEC.
Ultimately, we will do, as we do in any situation, everything in our power to keep our students and staff safe!”
School officials with District 5 want to remind folks that the flu is much more common–and oftentimes more serious–than the Coronavirus, and they want to encourage you to be mindful of those symptoms as well.