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Schools Take Measures To Reduce Risk Of Coronavirus

As we all keep a close watch on the world-wide fight against the spreading of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the St. James Parish School Board on Tuesday was briefed by the District’s janitorial company on measures implemented to reduce the possibility of spreading (COVID-19) among the parish’s schools.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, the COVID-19 virus was first detected in China and has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States.

“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough,” says the WHO. “Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.”

“Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell,” the WHO also reports. “Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.”

To date, there are 6 presumptive cases in Louisiana, all in New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish. No cases have been reported in St. James Parish.

Concerning the St. James Parish School District, Joe Cramer, Account Manager/Supervisor with ABM, the janitorial company contracted to keep St. James Parish schools clean, told the Board Tuesday that his company, since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, has been paying closer attention to disinfecting the district’s schools.

Cramer told the Board that ABM, since January, has been using enhanced cleaning methods in all District schools and has switched from all-purpose or general cleaners to esregistered disinfectants, which help prevent the spread of pathogens.

ABM also follows strict disinfection procedures when cleaning and are paying very close attention to areas considered frequently touched areas and surfaces.

Cramer said touch points are areas such as door knobs, desktops, push points on water fountains, hand rails, light switches, pencil sharpeners, and other areas that are frequently touched and used by students and school staff.

The following are the recommendations issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help prevent the spread of any respiratory disease - be it COVID-19 or the flu:

*Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick.

*Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

*Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds - especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty, but if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Also concerning COVID-19, the Board was told that Superintendent Ed Cancienne and his staff are meeting with principals and other essential staff to develop plans, procedures and an emergency response should the District identify a potential Coronavirus case in the District.

The Board was told preventative cleaning measures, besides the measures put in place by ABM, are being implemented in areas such as school buses, athletic facilities and school buildings.

Also, plans and procedures dealing with sick students, field trips and absenteeism are currently being designed and more information will be presented to the School Board at its March 24th meeting.

In other matters, the Board:

*Adopted a resolution asking the BESE Board, in the future hiring of a new Louisiana State School Superintendent, follow State law that sets the minimum job requirements and not waive the qualifications set by law.

The BESE Board, with a 2/3 vote, can waive the job qualifications set by state law, which opens the door for anyone to be hired as State Superintendent.

Some of the requirements provided by law to be hired State Superintendent are:

• Advanced degree in public administration, education or related area;

• Background in the formulation and implementation of public policy;

• Be qualified for a position of superintendent of a city, parish, or other local public school board, which can include a valid Type A or Level 3 Louisiana teaching certificate; 5 years of experience as a superintendent, asst. superintendent, supervisor of instruction, principal, or assistant principal, or equivalent experience; a Master’s degree; 48 hours of graduate credit, including at least 30 hours in education administration and supervision of instruction.

School Board President George Nassar said making the best choice of a new and qualified State Superintendent is critically important to the approximately 700,000 public school children in Louisiana.

*Gave the St. James High School Band $2,000 to travel to Universal Studios on March 25-29 to attend a band and concert band competition.

SJH Band Director David Lott said 40 students will travel and compete.

*Gave the Child Nutrition Department permission to bid for Food and Non Food Items for the 2020-21 school year.

This includes items such as dry and processed foods, frozen and refrigerated foods, non-food supplies, chemicals and services, milk and milk products, bread and bread products, and small and large equipment.

*Offered condolences to the following families:

*Sterling Mackie, Jr. father of Sharon Holmes, CGMA Head Start Teacher

*Pastor Gains - Father of Nora Gains; Teacher

*Sterling Nicholas, Jr. - brother of Jonee Nicholas Narcis se.

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