COVID-19 Makes it to Newton

In a letter to NPS Parents, Superintendent of Newton Public Schools, David Fleishman wrote the following:

March 8, 2020 – 8:00 p.m.

Dear NPS Community,

The Newton Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has informed us that a Newton resident with a student in a Newton school has been diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  

We want to share what we know at this point:

  • This afternoon, we were notified by Newton HHS that a city resident had received a presumed positive test for COVID-19 and that this individual has a child at Horace Mann.
  • We were also notified that the student is healthy and not exhibiting symptoms.
  • The student is following the quarantine protocol from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) until cleared to return to school.
  • As with any communicable disease, cities and schools are required to follow the direction from the MDPH.  

Additionally, we want to share the following information with you:  

Newton Department of Health and Human Services

Newton Department of Health and Human Services remains the primary point of contact for any communicable disease information. Their work is informed by the MDPH and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We will continue to follow their direction and guidance. If you have traveled internationally, you may be subject to quarantine and should review the guidelines which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html  

Cleaning impacted building and all school buildings

The Facilities Department is conducting deep cleaning and disinfecting at Horace Mann prior to opening tomorrow. We have strengthened cleaning protocols at all schools, with a focus on high touch points. We are conducting close monitoring of hand towel and soap dispensers to ensure regular refill and have purchased a large supply of hand sanitizer to be distributed to all schools.

Confidentiality

As with any medical information, confidentiality about our staff, students, and families must be maintained at all times according to federal regulations. Information about reasons for absences, travel history and illness cannot be given out and must be protected.

Resources for talking with children about COVID-19

Concern over COVID-19 can make children and families anxious. We encourage parents and staff to use the attached resource from Riverside Trauma Center when talking with children about it. An important message is for children to know that adults at home and school are taking care of their health and safety. Encourage children to reach out to a trusted adult if they have concerns.

Moving Forward

We are planning for an on-time opening of all schools on Monday, March 9th, as are neighboring town schools and communities who are addressing the same scenario we are experiencing. We will continue to track and trend illness in all of the schools. Anyone who is ill should remain at home and we ask that you please consult with your primary care physician if you have any questions or concerns about sending your child to school.

Anytime there is an outbreak of a virus or illness, it can be very unsettling for families and staff. Keeping everyone informed, safe and healthy remains our priority. This situation is evolving and we encourage everyone to monitor the Newton Health and Human Services Department’s website for the latest information and any special instructions: http://www.newtonma.gov/COVID19. Residents can find more information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19#what-are-the-symptoms-and-complications-of-covid-19?-

We will continue to keep you informed as this situation evolves. Thank you for your support and understanding.  

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

Attachment:Riverside Trauma Center – Managing Reactions to the Coronavirus