Dear Bishop McDevitt Families and Stakeholders,
This week the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control announced that schools across the U.S. should begin preparing for the possible threat of Coranavirus. We understand businesses are also restricting travel as well as advising caution and preparedness for large conferences or events. During a press conference this morning, Governor Tom Wolf announced two presumed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania. The individuals are quarantined in Delaware and Wayne counties. The state health lab at Exton tested these cases and received positive results. The results have not yet been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Pennsylvania Department of Health is confident about the test results.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency will increase its’ monitoring of the situation to include daylight hours on weekends. We anticipate the daily SitReps from the Pennsylvania Department of Health will continue. The Dauphin County Department of Public Safety continues to monitor this evolving incident. They will continue to distribute updates.
While we also are aware of the possibility of school closures as has been the case in other states, we do not feel we are there yet to develop a strategic response for this scenario. We will continue to update our community as information becomes available to us via the CDC and PA Health Department.
We have attached an online information sheet to our website published from the CDC with information regrading the Coronavirus. Below is a quick fact sheet on the Coranavirus, how it spreads, symptoms, and prevention. Please know that Bishop McDevitt takes the health of our students, staff, and school community very seriously.
Each of our classrooms has hand sanitizer dispensers and we are currently ordering dispensers to install in other common areas such as Finestra Hall and the Gymnasium. In addition to our nightly routine facilities cleaning and maintenance, we are proactively increasing our efforts to sanitize each classroom on a weekly basis. We have developed a response to events with large gatherings in the event participants may demonstrate signs or symptoms of illness. We will continue to monitor our local public health services to assess the risk in our area and respond according to recommendations from U.S. and Local Health Departments. We also recommend that you explain to your students that it is imperative to refrain from the sharing of drinking bottles, lip balms, or other items that may have the possibility to spread infection. Frequent handwashing is the most recommended preventative measure.
As stated above, we will also be enhancing our sensitivity to Large Gathering Events. Bishop McDevitt will ensure that soap dispensers are checked and refilled as needed. There will be hand sanitizer stations in common areas and soap dispensers in all bathrooms. We will have extra tissues available during large gathering events such as Mini Thon. Should any staff, student, or visitor become sick during a large event we will request them to leave immediately or isolate those participants from the rest of the event until they are able to be transported out of the venue or event. We also request that parents or guardians inform us if students will or have travelled abroad.
While we cannot eliminate the risk in totality, please note the message from Mr. Dave Eichman Director of Facilities on our preventative measures to limit the risk to our students, faculty , and community in the building:
Message from Mr. Dave Eichman Director of Facilities
Custodians clean and sanitize the facility daily using documented, standardized procedures. Desktops, counters, tables, drinking fountains, door knobs, and stair railing are wiped down using a non-acid disinfectant cleaner.
The hand sanitizer provided in all classrooms should be used by students and staff to augment these daily measures. We have asked our supplier to provide additional, portable units for installation in key areas. As is the case with many such products at this time, it's possible these units will take time to obtain.
Although established procedures provide adequate protection from germs, we will be distributing canisters of Clorox wipes today. We encourage teachers to wipe down door knobs, dispensers, and other surfaces touched by students during school.
All surfaces in bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned daily using the restroom disinfectant cleaner. Bathrooms are inspected regularly using a blacklight. This light identifies areas in which cleaning can be improved. Custodians receive direction on areas in need of improvement. They are addressed during evening activities.
Additionally, all surfaces are also treated with Hillyard company cleaning and recovery equipment once per week. Custodians use this machine to spray all surfaces with a water based disinfectant. Surfaces are then rinsed with clear water. The water from these activities is removed by a vacuum on the machine or pulled into floor drains. Starting next week, custodians will perform this deep cleaning twice per week.
Last week, custodians began to use the Clorox™ Total 360® System to augment daily disinfecting practices in classrooms on Fridays. This treatment system uses electrostatic technology to disperse a Clorox® spray that covers all surfaces in a classroom.
Due to the effectiveness of this equipment, the disinfectant has become increasingly difficult to obtain. If we are successful in our efforts to increase our on-hand supply, we will increase the frequency of this additional disinfection.
Our cleaning procedures have proven to be adequate protection for the health and welfare of people who use our building. However, we plan to perform more intensive cleaning and disinfecting of the school the weekend of March 21. All surfaces subject to contact will receive additional cleaning and disinfecting.
Thank you and God Bless,
Vincent Harper 92’
Coronaviruses are not new to humans. They were first identified in the 1960’s.
There are 7 known Coronaviruses that infect humans. As of today, there is not a vaccine or antiviral medication to lesson or prevent the spread.
How it is spreads
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Contact with infected surfaces or object
It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the Virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
It is possible to spread the Virus without being symptomatic, but it is not the common
mode of transmission.
Symptoms seem to appear 2-14 days after exposure. However, it is not clear if the Virus can be transmitted in an asymptomatic person. All symptoms may be treated with over the counter medication.
Most common symptoms
Shortness of breath
CDC recommends the following actions to prevent the spread of this Virus.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
Stay at home when you are sick.
Cover your cough and sneeze with a disposable tissue and then discard in the trash
(do not cough or sneeze into your elbow/arm) wash hands immediately after with anti-
bacterial soap and water for 20 or greater seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% or >
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a disinfecting wipe
Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, before
eating and if your hands are visibly soiled.
Additional Information and Resources
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
The Dauphin County Commissioners established a preparedness website for COVID-19 which can be found at: https://www.dauphincounty.org/government/departments/public_safety/emergency_information_for_citizens/coronavirus.php