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SA COVID-19 Info

March 13, 2020
By Jeremy Nicholas

Dear SA Parents,

I hope you and your family have had a great spring break week. Obviously, the events of the last several days concerning the coronavirus pandemic have been unlike anything we’ve probably ever experienced. Events and information have been changing rapidly, which led us to delay a statement originally set to go out earlier today in the hopes of making the best decision possible for our entire school community.

After consultation with numerous groups and agencies, Starkville Academy has decided to extend spring break through Monday and Tuesday of next week (March 16-17). We will have a faculty meeting on Monday at 10:00 AM in order to discuss safety and sanitary procedures with our faculty and staff and to game plan for potential future scenarios should we be forced to remain closed beyond Tuesday.

Upon the recommendation of the MAIS Office, and in conjunction with the MHSAA, we will continue to participate in athletic events and practices at this time. However, all field trips, assemblies, and school programs scheduled during the month of March will likely be canceled or postponed. We will send more information regarding those specific programs next week.

This remains a very fluid situation that could entail changes to our existing plan, but know that any plan for the future will be guided by these priorities: the health and safety of our school community, the continuity of learning under all possible circumstances, and the importance of maintaining the normal routine of school life to the highest degree possible.

Following guidance from the CDC and the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH), any student or faculty and staff member who has traveled to any country listed by the CDC as a Level 3 Travel Warning nation (see full list below) or who has been on an international cruise during the spring break holidays will be required to remain at home under self-quarantine for a duration of 14 days from the date of their return.

Additionally, as a precautionary measure, Starkville Academy will not allow any visitors on campus unless invited by the school until further notice. For example, this includes parents or grandparents coming to eat lunch with a student or coming to bring food to a child’s birthday party.

We understand that the existing circumstances can bring about varying levels of apprehension based upon certain health conditions currently experienced by some of our families. If you feel because of your family situation that it is not in your child’s or your family’s best interest to send your child to school, please inform your child’s principal by email of the circumstances, and these absences will be excused for all ages and will not count against exam exemptions for students taking semester exams. Additionally, if you feel your child has been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus and you feel they should self-quarantine, please do so, and these absences will be excused. Most importantly, we ask that anyone who is exhibiting any signs of sickness or illness (especially those symptoms that could be associated with the virus) to not

report to school. In any case, we will work with your child to help them stay current in their studies.

We encourage our students, staff, and families to be mindful of key preventative measures that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

· Avoid close contact with sick people,

· While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible,

· Stay home if you are sick,

· Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze,

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands,

· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs,

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.

Please remember that if children are sick, they should not be at school. Students need to be fever free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medications) before returning to class after any illness. Keeping children home when they are sick is critical to prevention.

Our goal is to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus while maintaining the quality and integrity of our instructional programs. Thank you for your support and assistance in this endeavor!

Respectfully, Jeremy Nicholas

Level 3 Travel Warning Countries (found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices):

· China, Iran, South Korea

· European nations: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.