District responds to COVID-19 outbreak
At a glance, the Poudre School District response plan looks bland, dull, and impotent. It starts out by stating the obvious: distance yourself from sick people, wash your hands, et cetera. However, the reality is that the response plan sheds light onto the severity of COVID-19, and provides key details on what the district will do.
During this outbreak, a hierarchy of authority has been established. According to PSD’s response plan, the district will be consulting with the Larimer County Health Department on all matters relating to travel and school closures. As we have already seen, the district has cancelled all out of state field trips, and the Model United Nations team actually had to return to Fort Collins because the event they were attending was cancelled in Seattle. Furthermore, the district will be receiving direction from the state health department, which receives its advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There will be cooperation on all levels of government to tackle this urgent issue according to the document. Should a vaccine or drug become available, they will promptly be distributed to health care providers by our health department.
As for who assumes direct control of the situation, in the event of a state of emergency, the Colorado Department of Health will begin directing a statewide coordinated effort. This indicates that this assumption is true, it is safe to say that our health department is now directly operating under advisement or orders from our state department.
It is important for individuals to be prepared for the coming storm, so to speak, and the district has a number of guidelines to keep in mind. At this stage, you should consider social distancing,staying away from crowds, and encouraging individuals who are ill to stay home. Furthermore, keeping your home or workplace clean and disinfected will reduce your chance of getting infected and make it safer not only for you, but for others. Cancelling events and public gatherings is also a good way to make yourself safer. PSD will notify parents and students if they have possibly been exposed to the virus.
The school has many responses to the virus, and we will highlight some of the important ones here to inform, and clarify any confusion. After a case has been confirmed within PSD or within Larimer County, the school district will immediately contact the Larimer Department of Health. From there, the department will provide their opinion on whether or not schools should be closed and the district will take it from there. Closure of schools has been shown in previous outbreaks to slow the progress of the disease as a whole, hopefully allowing for containment and reopening of schools. It should also be noted that once a school has been closed down it will be properly sanitized before students return. Should school be closed, no school associated programs will be available, such as facility rentals and scheduled events.
Teachers have been notified of the potential for school closures and they have been encouraged to begin planning for online classes. For instance, Mr. Ivan Rodon in the World Language Department has said that he is ready to take all of his classes online. We expect to receive more information about e-learning, if or when the school is shut down.
It is understood that some people have food needs that the school assists with, and the district is currently evaluating meal options if they are feasible to implement. Due to possible logistics concerns the district cannot guarantee anything at this time according to the document. Further information will be available in the coming days and we will update our story as needed.
Considering ongoing developments in this story, this article will be updated appropriately and new information will be released when available. Expect new pieces to go up in the following days and we will be monitoring the situation closely.