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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Communication [English]
Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19
March 12, 2020: COVID-19: Helpful Info, Resources, and How to Talk to Children
Helpful information on COVID-19 and Preventative Measures:
What can I do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.
Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
If you don’t have soap and water, have an adult help you use a special hand cleaner.
Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.
Family Resources for Talking to Children about COVID-19
Children look to adults for guidance in stressful times. How we manage our own fears and worries when children are present can influence their mindset and responses. To the greatest extent possible, when we as adults project calm and confidence in front of children, it helps to reduce their anxieties.
Many children find it calming to know that there are behaviors within their control to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Remain calm and reassuring
Make yourself available
Avoid excessive blaming
Monitor television viewing and social media
Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible
Be honest and accurate
Know the symptoms of COVID-19
Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection
Discuss new rules or practices at school
For more detailed information please visit: NASP Parent Resource: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Please remember to keep explanations age appropriate
Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people take every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as “adults are working hard to keep you safe.”
Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 comes to their school or community. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to prevent germs from spreading.
Upper middle school and high school students are able to discuss the issue in a more in-depth (adult-like) fashion and can be referred directly to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19. Having such knowledge can help them feel a sense of control.
For additional resources please visit the following:
March 12, 2020: School Closure Update
Subject Line: Update from Framingham Public Schools: School Closure Information
I am closing the Framingham Public Schools again tomorrow, Friday, March 13th. All school-based activities and events are cancelled through this weekend. I am working with our Mayor, our Department of Public Health, and local, state, and federal agencies as we determine next steps. I will follow up with the Framingham community as more information becomes available.
We are live on Facebook to answer questions and provide information to the community. Please join us: www.facebook.com/framinghamps.
Very truly yours,
Superintendent of Framingham Public Schools
March 11, 2020 District Wide Communication
Subject Line: Important Community Update - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear Framingham Community:
Shortly after school began this morning, Dr. Sam Wong, Director of Public Health for the City of Framingham, and I learned that a Framingham resident received a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19 and that this individual has a child who attends Potter Road Elementary School. The child presented this morning with mild symptoms of an infection. In response to this information:
- The child and family are following the quarantine protocol from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) until cleared to return to school. As with any communicable disease, communities are required to follow direction from the MDPH.
- Related to this case, there is an identified group of students who may have potentially been exposed to the COVID-19 and those families are being contacted directly. Those students will need to be in quarantine for 14 days. We apologize for the incredible inconvenience this presents for those families.
- If you or a family member have been or you believe you have been directly exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and/or you are experiencing symptoms including cough , fever, or shortness of breath, contact your Primary Care Provider.
- Consistent with how other local communities have responded to a presumptive positive test result, Potter Road was dismissed at 11:30am this morning to allow for a thorough cleaning and disinfection of every classroom and all other spaces throughout the building.
- Out of an abundance of caution and in order to proactively clean and disinfect all Framingham Public Schools, I am closing all schools tomorrow Thursday, March 12th. Consistent with our inclement weather protocol, all schools will be closed and all daytime and evening activities will be cancelled. Only custodial staff will be asked to report to the schools to clean.The Central Administration Office and all twelve-month district department staff will report to work. As of this date, the last day of school will now be Monday, June 22, 2020.
In the meantime, all information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), MDPH, and the Framingham Health Department continue to emphasize that the risk of infection from COVID-19 remains low. However, it is important to observe the following important preventative measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If unable to wash with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not with your hands)
- Limit contact with people who are sick
- If you or your child is experiencing flu-like symptoms or cough, fever, or shortness of breath, please stay home from school until you have been symptom-free for at least 24-hours without the support of medication (such as cough suppressant)
As always, the safety, health, and security of our students is our top priority. We continue to work closely with all relevant state and city departments to respond to this evolving situation. We have created a COVID-19 page on the FPS website which will be updated regularly with information and guidance as we receive it.
We will also be hosting a Facebook Live Broadcast to update the community with the latest information and to respond to any questions that the community may have. Please tune into Framingham Public Schools Facebook tomorrow at 12:00pm.
Robert A. Tremblay, Superintendent
Framingham Public Schools
March 11, 2020 Quarantine Message
Subject Line: Please Read: Quarantine Required - Possible Exposure to COVID-19
Dear Parent or Guardian of [FirstName] [LastName],
You are receiving this message because your child may have potentially been exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We learned this morning that a Framingham resident received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19 and this individual has a child who attends Potter Road Elementary School. That child, who we will call Child A, rides a bus that is shared with a small group of students from Hemenway Elementary School. Please know that as soon we were made aware of this situation, the student was quarantined.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have identified possible points of exposure which may include interaction with your child.
We apologize for the incredible inconvenience this presents for your family, but based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), your child needs to be quarantined for 14 days and may return to school on March 26th - as long as they are symptom-free. You should monitor your child’s health and call their healthcare provider if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (for example: fever, cough, and shortness of breath). We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and make decisions as updated information becomes available. I very much appreciate your flexibility as we manage this challenging situation.
Potter Road Elementary School was dismissed at 11:30 this morning in order to allow our custodial staff to do a deep cleaning and disinfection of the school.
Lastly, here is a link to suggestions on how to talk to your child about COVID-19.
As always, the safety, health, and security of our students is our top priority. We continue to work closely with all relevant state and city departments to respond to this evolving situation. We have created a Covid-19 page on the FPS website which will be updated regularly with information and guidance as we receive it.
Please feel to contact your child’s Primary Care Provider and/or the Director of Health & Wellness, Judith Styer (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Dr. Tremblay, Superintendent of Framingham Public Schools
March 9, 2020: Video Script [Framingham Leaders Provide Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)]
We did a live broadcast this afternoon to provide an update to families and the Framingham community. There was some trouble with the audio at the beginning of the video. We will be posting the final version shortly. In the meantime, and while we wait for translation - here is the script.
Mayor Spicer: Good afternoon Framingham families and residents. I am Mayor Yvonne Spicer and I’m here today with Dr. Sam Wong, Director of Public Health for Framingham and Dr. Robert Tremblay, Superintendent of Framingham Public Schools. We are broadcasting live from Framingham High School with support from Framingham Education Channel TV and appreciate their flexibility to pull this together so quickly.
If you watch the news, read the paper, and check social media - the stories surrounding Coronavirus or COVID-19 are increasing and changing by the day, sometimes by the hour. New information is constantly coming out which presents challenges in how we communicate with all of you. Several of us met this morning, and we wanted to share information through a video and hope that this reaches you where you are
Dr. Wong: First, it is important to emphasize that at this point the risk to the City relative to COVID-19 is low. City and school district leaders are in discussions and planning for a coordinated response in the event that the risk to the community increases.
Plans will be developed in accordance with the latest guidance from my office (the Framingham Board of Health), Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Tremblay: We are pursuing the translation of this video and will get this out to all families as quickly as possible. As a District we are working closely with our partners at the City and State levels - both experts in Public Health and also in Public Education. This morning’s meeting included members of Senior Leadership and we wanted to share several updates with regards to Buildings and Grounds, Food Services, Human Resources, and more.
From a facilities standpoint:
- All touch surfaces are cleaned nightly in each school. Examples of touch surfaces include: door knobs, push plates on doors, water fountains, student desks and chairs, telephone handsets, bathrooms, and medical areas.
- The District also has a Clorox 360 which is an electrostatic sprayer that delivers trusted Clorox solutions to the front, back and sides of surfaces.
- Providing cleaning supplies to the Transportation Department for nightly disinfecting of the Framingham Public School buses.
- Our Buildings and Grounds Department is beginning to provide teachers with disinfectant material for the Chromebooks.
Our Food Service folks are also going above and beyond with the cleaning (washing and sanitizing) of all food service areas in between meal times including:
- Serving areas, pin pads where students enter their IDs, and the tables.
- We will also put together a list of food pantries / providers and if there is a school closure, we will be prepared to direct people to those resources.
Following the governor's direction, we have cancelled all international trips for the remainder of the year.
Following the Framingham Health Department's guidance, we are going forward with our plans for local and in-country trips.
We will continue to hold Framingham Public School gatherings, i.e. concerts, sporting events. If /when the state and local Boards of Health change their guidance related to these events, we will follow that guidance and update you accordingly.
If you are a staff member and have any questions or concerns about the use of sick days, please contact Inna London at the Office of Human Resources.
We’ve heard many questions about school closure based on news and updates from surrounding towns. Again, we are monitoring the situation very closely, and will be sure to update the community if this is something we need to consider.
Regarding School Closures and the 180 Day Requirement - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (or DESE) has reiterated the following guidance.
- All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between the first day of the school year and March 31 must be made up by rescheduling full school days to ensure a 180-day school year.
- All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between April 1 and June 1 must be made up to ensure a 180-day school year or until the district has reached its previously-scheduled 185th day, whichever comes first. If all five snow days have been used prior to this point, the district is not required to schedule additional school days.
- Districts will not be expected to make up any days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies that occur after June 1.
- DESE will revisit this guidance if the situation warrants it.
- Anyone experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) - please contact your Primary Care Provider or other medical providers
- If you do not have symptoms - but you have concern over known or possible exposure, please call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.
- As a matter of practice, if / when there is a suspected case, presumptive positive, or a diagnosis, that person is quarantined and immediate household members are also quarantined.
- Anyone who’s had direct contact with a suspected case, presumptive positive, or diagnosis in the last 14 days also needs to be quarantined.
There are some everyday precautions you can do to help avoid the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu and Covid19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
For more information about Covid19, please go to the Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health or the Centers for Disease Control websites. Framingham will also be providing regular updates on the City’s website, and Framingham’s social media channels. If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for City’s Reverse 911 program on the front page of the City’s website to receive emergency alerts.
Dr. Tremblay: I want to reassure you that in all of our decisions we put the health and safety of our children and staff first. We are working closely with all relevant state and city departments to respond to this evolving situation. We have created a Covid-19 page on the FPS website which will be updated regularly with information and guidance as we receive it. Thank you for watching. Please feel free to share this video with others in the community.
Mayor Spicer: Thank you. I want to thank Dr. Wong and Dr. Tremblay for being here today and on behalf of the City of Framingham, we will update you as things progress.
March 5, 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update Letter
March 5, 2020
Dear Members of the Framingham Public Schools Community,
I write today with an update on Framingham Public Schools’ response concerning coronavirus (COVID-19).
First, it is important to emphasize that at this point there is no significant risk to the FPS community relative to COVID-19. Nonetheless, district leaders have convened discussions and planning for a coordinated response in the event that the risk to the community increases. District plans will be developed in accordance with the latest guidance from the Framingham Board of Health, MA Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We recognize that reports of the impact of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world can be very troubling, especially for members of our community who are from or have friends and family in affected areas. Resources and support are available for students through school-based counseling services and for staff through the Mass4You EAP (844) 263-1982 (available 24/7).
You can access up-to-date information about COVID-19 on the MA DPH COVID -19 website. Moving forward, we will continue to communicate with you regularly as new information becomes available.
Dr. Robert Tremblay
Superintendent of Schools
February 26, 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory
February 26, 2020
Yesterday, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted widespread local transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States mentioning schools, businesses, and health care systems and raising concerns about how we will plan for and manage an outbreak.
Currently there are very few cases of COVID 19 in the US and no reported community spread according to the CDC. Massachusetts public health officials are monitoring COVID-19 activity very closely. Yesterday, the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued guidance for schools regarding the infection. MA DPH is working closely with the CDC, other federal agencies, local boards of health, and other clinical partners to share the most up to date information available with school administrators.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. Federal and state guidance could change at any time. At this point:
- Framingham Board of Health is working closely with MA DPH and CDC to assist in home quarantine of non-symptomatic travelers coming back from parts of China outside of the Hubei Province (epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak).
- There is no community level transmission of COVID-19 in the United States. The risk for Framingham residents for this disease is very low.
- We are following federal and state guidance on preparing and responding to this disease.
As a school district, planning a response in the event of transmission of COVID-19 in our community will be done in close collaboration and coordination with the MA DPH, the Framingham Board of Health, local healthcare providers, emergency management, and other community agencies, with guidance from the CDC. We are monitoring the situation very closely and will update our response according to guidance from our federal and state public health partners.
It is important to note that Framingham residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the flu than to be exposed to COVID-19. Many of the precautions that help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against other respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Stay home if you are sick.
Please use information from official public health agencies as trusted sources of information. Here are links to detailed up-to-date COVID-19 information from the CDC and MA DPH:
Coronavirus Disease 2019 CDC (Source, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Information on the Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Source, MA Department of Public Health)
CDC in Action: Preparing Communities for Potential Spread of COVID-19 (Source, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)Rochelle Santos