BCSD 101 prepares for virus

by Tonia Brooks
Staff Writer | March 12, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY— As of March 5, there have only been a few school closures due to the COVID-19 virus, better known as coronavirus. Many of those schools are in the Seattle, Wash., area. Additionally, on Wednesday, March 4, Los Angeles, Calif., officials declared a public health emergency; whereas, they spoke to the community to prepare for school closures.

Idaho continues to be free of any confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 8.

In an effort to be proactive, Boundary County School District 101 has a plan for mitigating the spread of the virus, and has been meeting with varied agencies to prepare for a possibility of a school closure due to the virus.

“We are monitoring attendance daily, we have posted to our website how to prevent the spread, our schools are sharing the prevention techniques, our school nurse is teaching hand-washing techniques to our younger students, and we are watching current updates to see if anyone in our area tests positive,” said Boundary County School District 101 Superintendent Jan Bayer.

The Idaho Department of Education has also helped with planning and educating school districts throughout Idaho on the prevention and spread of COVID-19.

“Student and community health is a prime concern for the State Department of Education, as it is for our many school districts and charter schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri

Ybarra said. “Idahoans have many questions about coronavirus, and making answers and helpful information widely available helps calm concerns and encourage precautions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been helpful in disseminating needed information to both school administrators as well as the general public with their publication, “interim Guidance for Administrators of U.S. Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

The CDC encourages the following strategies to help prevent getting sick: “If you are sick, stay home from school; Avoid close contact with those who are already sick; Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or the crook of your arm; Wash your hands often with soap and water; Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.”

Superintendent Bayer has worked closely with Panhandle Health District to collaborate with information on the virus.

“We will continue to collaborate with the hospital and public information officer to protect our students, staff, and community,” said Bayer.

School Superintendent Bayer has sent all information on strategies and plans for combating the COVID-19 virus to principals and counselors to distribute as they feel is best.

For more information visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ The CDC’s website is: cdc.gov and for more local information visit: panhandlehealthdistrict.org