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Letter from Dr. Gerold regarding Coronavirus - February 28, 2020

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February 28, 2020

Dear Middle Country Parents/Guardians and Community Members,

Due to the growing media coverage and concerns people may have regarding Coronavirus, we have gathered and posted information and resources on our school district website that you may find helpful. The direct link to this information appears below:

The following information regarding the Coronavirus has been provided to us by the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Department of Education:

A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.

What do we know?

Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019‐nCoV can be found at:

How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?

Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person to person.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.


There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses (as well as the common cold and various forms of influenza (“the flu”), including 2019-nCoV:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand
    sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or
    sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.


Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Are visitors from China being screened?

Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports.

Should the school district receive any additional guidance or information, it will be posted to our district website.

Please know the safety, health and welfare of our students, faculty and staff is always of paramount importance. The district will continue to work and collaborate with the New York State Education Department, The New York State Department of Health, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in an effort to respond to any health-related concerns that may arise in our region. As always the health and safety of our students and staff is always the highest priority. As such, you can rest assured that our custodial crew has initiated enhanced clearing protocols to ensure our learning environments are as safe as possible. This involves an increased emphasis on disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as desks, computer keyboards, doorknobs, etc. We appreciate your partnership in following the guidelines indicated above.


Roberta A. Gerold, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools