Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
March 13, 2020
Our city, our state and much of the world are now dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis, unlike anything we as educators have ever seen before.
Since the COVID-19 coronavirus first emerged in Oregon, we have followed the guidance of our public health agency partners in making preventative changes in our schools and programs. As this situation continues to evolve, public health experts now believe the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Willamette Valley will grow. While we do not have any presumptive cases in Sheridan School District, we believe it is time for us to act more urgently to protect our students, employees and community,
After careful collaboration with internal and external partners, and following last night's announcement from Gov. Brown, Sheridan School District will extend spring break, beginning Monday, March 16 with a plan for students to return to schools on Wednesday, April 1. All schools and locations will be open today, Friday, March 13.
During the closure, all school-based sports and extracurricular activities will also be cancelled.
Staff will be expected to return on Monday, March 30. The state will assess and either confirm or adjust return dates by Wednesday, March 25.
Starting Monday, March 16, and until we reopen schools on April 1, schools will be closed to students. We are determining next steps for staff and will communicate those on Friday.
Schools are essential to communities, especially ones with as many unique needs as ours. We know that extending spring break will cause difficulties for many families who rely on their schools for meals, mental health supports and a safe place to be during the day. Because of this, we do not take this decision lightly. Extending spring break is a preventative measure to help slow the rate of spread of coronavirus and, as public health agencies explain, flatten the curve of the virus's impact on our citizens and health care systems.
We are working on identifying ways to provide meals to students during the break and will have more information about that on Friday.
Given the seriousness of the current situation, we firmly believe that this decision is the best one we can make given all available information and keeping the best interests of our students, staff, and community at the center.
Again, we appreciate our fellow school district leaders and colleagues from around the state for their collaboration and thought-partnership during this critical situation.
We will continue to monitor this very dynamic public health situation and will plan to provide an update during the course of this extended break. Thank you for your support and cooperation.
March 12, 2020
With the number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Oregon increasing, Governor Brown announced new guidance regarding group gatherings and social distancing. We remain committed to keeping our schools open and safe. In accordance with this guidance and in order to minimize potential opportunities for the virus to spread, we have decided to proactively begin suspending events that bring large groups of students, adults and community members together. This action is not related to a presumptive case. At this time, there are no presumptive cases in Sheridan Public Schools.
Suspension of non-essential school-based activities begins immediately, effective Thursday, March 12, and will remain in effect for 30 days. This includes the suspension of all school-based assemblies and events, off-campus field trips and professional development meetings and events. With regard to athletics, we are following OSAA guidance. The list of affected activities will grow as we work with partners and stakeholders over the coming days. We will update you as we make those decisions.
To be clear, we are taking every step possible so that we can continue to provide high-quality education for all of our students and keep our schools open.
We realize that this decision will impact every school community, and we know that many of the events, student performances and other gatherings that we are suspending are those that schools, students and families look forward to all year long. Suspending these events is consistent with guidance from health authorities, and we believe it is a prudent and responsible step to take at this time. We will be working with trip planners, event organizers and others who are responsible for the affected activities. In cases when we are mandated to offer access to community members (e.g. Board of Education meetings) we are currently exploring other alternatives, including virtual meeting platforms in order to continue the district’s governance and business.
The safety, health and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority. We will continue to work in close partnership with public health authorities to minimize both the spread of coronavirus and disruption to schools and students. We will continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing at school. Our custodians will continue to prioritize high-touch surfaces in classrooms and common areas. And we are making sure schools have adequate cleaning supplies.
Students, families and everyone in our community can best support our efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and using hand sanitizer. Those experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu should stay at home, only returning to school or work when symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are concerned about symptoms, please consult with a doctor.
Finally, you can find district messages about COVID-19 coronavirus, resources, links to public health agencies and a question/comment form by visiting https://www.oregon.gov/oha.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time. We will continue to rely on the guidance from Oregon public health authorities, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Governor. Please know that this message and the decisions being made at this time are being done in collaboration with many of the State of Oregon’s largest school districts, including the Beaverton School District, Eugene School District, Hillsboro School District, Portland Public Schools, and Salem-Keizer Public Schools. We appreciate their partnership at this time. We all collectively share concern for the health and safety of our students and communities.
March 5, 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that the Centers for Disease Control is monitoring and learning about in order to assist individuals who may become ill with the virus and to prevent others from getting sick from COVID-19. While the medical field's knowledge about this virus is in its early stages, SSD has taken additional preventative measures to assist in the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community.
The Sheridan School District has implemented several procedures to become knowledgeable about the virus and to help reduce the transmission of germs including the following:
Weekly meetings between SSD with Yamhill County Health Department leadership.
Contact with appropriate State officials as needed as well as monitoring and reviewing documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Oregon Health Authority.
Attendance tracking for changes in student attendance patterns.
Increased frequency in cleaning commonly touched areas (such as door handles, countertops and entry keypads).
Additional classroom desktop cleaning materials.
Increased hygiene instruction in health classes (such as hand washing; covering a cough or sneeze with the elbow rather than the hand; not sharing beverages and food between students).
How can parents help?
Please provide similar instruction at home to children about hand washing, not sharing food, covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow and not hugging, shaking hands, fist bumping, or having other close contact with students. In other words, institute a “no contact” practice and instead of physical greetings consider “jazz hands,” “thumbs up” and air “high-fives” as greetings to friends and colleagues. Students with a fever should stay home. Please help reinforce these practices with your child by being a role model in demonstrating these same behaviors at school and in the community.
What about school closures?
The District will work in conjunction with health authorities regarding any need for a health-related closure. Should such a closure be necessary SSD would notify families just as it does in inclement weather situations (website, text, phone dialer, FlashAlert, etc.) If the District were to close for a few days, student make-up days would likely be scheduled later in the school year.
What about athletic events and out of district travel?
For now, we ask spectators to consider social distance when spectating, set apart rather than close to other spectators watching or attending an event.
We will assess travel to other events and activities and notify families of any anticipated changes (including cancellation).