Dear LOSD families,
Lake Oswego School District (LOSD) takes the health and safety of our community very seriously. This is why we quickly responded to the coronavirus COVID-19 case identified at Forest Hills Elementary School, cancelled all activities at our schools this weekend, and made the decision to close Forest Hills through Wednesday, March 4.
First of all, thank you for your care and concern for our employee who is presumed to be infected with COVID-19. We are bound by HIPPA laws and cannot legally share more. We are passing along your thoughts and well wishes with the individual’s family.
We hosted a news conference yesterday. If you have not done so already, please view the 30 min.conference by clicking this link, or visit the Health Alert page on the LOSD website. The statements made at the conference are also posted on the site.
Schools open: All schools within LOSD, other than Forest Hills, will operate as normal tomorrow, Monday, March 2. We have learned from Clackamas County Public Health that no further cases have been identified and there is no risk of disease from this case at other schools. Risk of students who have not been in close contact with the case becoming ill is very low.
The case has been discussed among state and local public health officials, who have concurred that the case presents a low risk to staff and students. CDC has reviewed this incident and has determined that expanded surveillance is not needed at this time.
Close contact: Oregon Health Authorities have advised that Covid-19 is moderately transmittable, it is spread by coughing and sneezing. That typically happens while caring for, living with, or sharing a space with another person for a prolonged period of time. According to the CDC, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. This is why frequent handwashing is so critical.
Schools cleaned and disinfected: All surfaces in LOSD schools and all school buses have been cleaned and disinfected this past weekend using the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Proper hygiene: Teachers and staff will be emphasizing proper hygiene techniques with your students. These techniques are what we always espouse, and we will be demonstrative in modeling and encouraging our best practices during the school days, as well as during after school events including athletic practices and activities.
Seeking medical care: Public health officials are telling us that people without symptoms do not need to seek care or be tested. If your child has a cough or respiratory illness and a fever, and is ill enough that they need medical care, you should call their physician. The physician, in consultation with Clackamas County Public Health officials, will determine appropriate care that will limit exposure to others, and whether testing is needed.
Exact symptoms of COVID-19: The symptoms to look for with Covid-19 are all three of the following: 1) a fever over 100.5 degrees, 2) cough, and 3) shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Staying home: If your child is a student at Forest Hills, and their sibling(s) attend another school, there is no need to keep them home unless they have symptoms of illness or are considered a close contact. Close contacts know who they are, and are being monitored.
If your student is feeling ill, please keep them home. You will find more guidance by clicking on this document provided by the LOSD school nurse. If your child stays home, you will need to call the school attendance secretary for an excused absence. An excused absence allows students to have adequate time to make up all work including tests, quizzes, homework assignments, labs, etc. We want to encourage all students to stay home if they are feeling ill, and we will treat all excused absences with grace.
Emergency contacts: If your student starts feeling ill while at school, you will be contacted immediately. We ask that you make sure your emergency contact information is updated. For example, if we cannot get ahold of you, the emergency contact needs to be someone close enough to bring your student home from school. You can review and update your emergency contacts in ParentVue (click here for instructions on the Health Alert landing page on losdschools.org).
Volunteers and guests: If you and/or your student are a volunteer or guest who has visited Forest Hills, and you are not symptomatic, you are welcome and encouraged to go to school (other than Forest Hills) on Monday. If you are related to a student or staff member of Forest Hills and are not symptomatic, you are welcome and encouraged to report to work and school (other than Forest Hills) on Monday.
School and district events: All school and district events may proceed as planned starting Monday. Forest Hills may resume events starting Thursday.
Expect next: We know that your child’s health is the most important thing to consider in this decision. While we understand that the situation is causing fear, we are basing the decision on all of the most recent information and facts from the agencies monitoring the situation. If a new case is identified, public health officials will take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of the community, and we would reevaluate the decision to keep schools open at that time.
If you have questions about COVID-19, please consult a trusted source such as the CDC or OHA webpages, which are updated frequently with current information, or call or visit the 211 information line to be connected with people with health and social service organizations.
We care deeply about every student, staff and community member in LOSD and we will continue to keep you apprised of pertinent and helpful information as it becomes available.