RICHMOND, Va. -- Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover and Richmond schools have adjusted upcoming field trip and travel procedures in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
"Effective March 11, all school- and school division-supported trips (field trips, athletic trips, etc.) outside of Virginia are canceled through April 13," a Chesterfield School spokesperson advised. "This includes trips to Washington, D.C. We continue to monitor areas in Northern Virginia, and will adapt travel as recommended or as necessary."
Students and school staff traveling to countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea) should plan on staying home 14 days upon return to the United States.
Similar cancellations were announced for Henrico and Richmond Schools.
"Effective March 12, we are cancelling all school-sponsored and division-sponsored travel outside of the Richmond area for both students and staff (field trips, athletic events, conferences, etc.). We will lift this ban once we feel confident that the potential threat to students and staff has abated," Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras wrote in an email to parents.
Kamras said they didn't set an exact date to lift the ban because he expected it to keep changing.
"We are asking families to prepare now for the possibility of cancelling school if we have confirmed COVID-19 cases from students and/or staff. Out of an abundance of caution, we are already developing virtual learning guidance and examining different ways of supporting families who rely on the school meals program due to food insecurity. For now, all RPS schools are open and operating on a normal schedule."
A Petersburg Schools spokesperson said they'll release their plans on Friday.
Caroline Clark sends her teens to Richmond Public Schools.
"I think it totally makes sense our priority is to keep kids safe -- if we need to close schools, we need to close schools," Clark explained.
However, she worried for the families who wouldn't be able to find childcare if schools were closed for an extended period of time.
"There are people, lots of people, most of us live paycheck to paycheck. You can’t just opt not to go into work and not get paid," Clark stated. " I think it’s going to come down to a point of having to make a choice of who’s going to be at home and who’s going to miss work."
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash your hands especially after coughing and sneezing, before and after caring for an ill person, and before preparing foods and before eating.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact (such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils) with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except when you need to get medical care.
Keep your child home when sick
If your child has symptoms of illness that would prevent participation at school, then please keep your child at home and call the school to report that your child is sick. Returning to school too soon may delay recovery from illness and may potentially expose others.
Fever: Children should not be in school if they have a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and should stay home until the fever is gone for 24 hours without medication. During influenza season, children with a fever and other flu-like symptoms may be asked to stay home longer.
Vomiting and diarrhea: Children should not attend school if they are vomiting or have diarrhea. Children are asked to stay home until 24 hours after the last time they vomited or had diarrhea.