October 22, 2014
As people grow concerned about the spread of the Ebola disease, we understand that Lancaster ISD parents may have questions about the district’s proactive approach to ensure the safety, health and security of our students and staff.
District leaders have reviewed our protocols and procedures regarding reducing the spread of contagious diseases. Our school nurses are actively monitoring our student body and have been directed to continue to be vigilant in the recommended methods to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. District leaders in the Custodial, Student Services, Communications and Safety Departments recently met to discuss our emergency plans and responsiveness.
An important obligation for our school district is to try to prepare for any type of emergency. Lancaster ISD has general emergency plans in place that include responses to health-related crises.
The district also has a close working relationship with local law enforcement, emergency management and health officials. In the unlikely event that a student or staff member of Lancaster ISD were to become ill with Ebola, the district would follow directives from local and state health department officials, the Centers for Disease Control, and local emergency management officials.
For the past three weeks, Dallas County Medical Society physicians have been heavily involved in the ongoing Ebola concerns in Dallas County. The physicians of DCMS’ Community
Emergency Response Committee sent the attached letter to North Texas school officials urging districts not to consider closing schools due to fears about Ebola.
It is evident that the Ebola disease is at the forefront of the media, yet we also remember that cold and flu season is on the horizon. The campus nurses as well as the district’s Custodial Department continue to implement critical components of our Health and Safety Control Plan listed below:
- Daily cleaning of restroom facilities and drinking fountains.
- Daily disinfection of frequently-touched surfaces such as student desks, computer keyboards, doorknobs and light switches.
- Students are promptly referred to the school nurse for any signs or symptoms of illness.
- Students with a low-grade fever are sent home. Students are required to be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
Students and staff are provided education and encouragement in health hygiene habits including:
- Basic hand washing or use of hand sanitizer before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout our campuses.
- Proper respiratory etiquette, including coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of the elbow.
- Avoiding sharing food, drinks or eating utensils.
- Cleaning and disinfection of clinic equipment and furniture daily and after each use.
Daily monitoring of absences related to illness in both staff and students. Deep cleaning and heavy disinfection is promptly performed when there is increased illness in a classroom, grade or campus.
Lancaster ISD will remain diligent in monitoring the latest information related to Ebola and other contagious illnesses, and we will communicate with our families when appropriate as we are committed to the health and safety of our community.
Please review the PDF of the letter sent to all Dallas County Schools for additional information regarding Ebola.