DATE: March 11, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Albemarle County Public Schools Suspends School-Related Travel Outside the County, Limits Meetings to Less than 100 Participants in Stepped Up COVID-19 Infection Control Measures
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Albemarle County Public Schools is suspending all school-related travel outside of the county by students and staff as the school division steps up its infection control practices following the discovery of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.
Also suspended is travel within the county to events of 100 or more people. School activities or gatherings of 100 or more people also are being canceled with the only exception being school cafeterias when meals are being served.
Outside organizations will no longer be able to utilize school facilities for meetings of more than 100 attendees.
All changes are effective tomorrow, March 12, and will continue until further notice.
“When we released our COVID-19 management plan earlier this week, we said our plan would be updated in accordance with the latest developments,” said Rosalyn Schmitt, the school division’s Chief Operating Officer. “These changes reflect the most current circumstances and the latest guidance we have received from the health department,” she said.
Schmitt noted that in addition to taking all possible measures to safeguard the health of students and staff, the school division was mindful of its community responsibilities. “We want to ensure that we are contributing to keeping the most vulnerable in our community safe and helping our local healthcare system best manage their resources for those who are ill,” she said.
Other measures being implemented include:
- The school division will follow the requirements of the Virginia High School League, the governing body for all athletic events in the state, in determining the participation of Albemarle County Public Schools students in interscholastic competitions.
- Beginning tomorrow, all classrooms will receive supplies of antimicrobial disinfectants, effective in killing coronavirus for daily use in keeping classroom surfaces clean.
- Any student or staff member exhibiting a fever will be sent home.
- Alcohol-based sanitizers will be distributed throughout all schools where sinks are not available.
- Staff and parents are being asked to refrain from handshaking or engaging in high five greetings.
- Teachers will reinforce infection control measures with students, including frequent handwashing, respiratory etiquette, and refraining from touching nose, mouth or eyes.
The school division also is requesting that students or staff who return from personal travel to those areas where coronavirus cases have been identified notify the school division upon their return of such travel and practice self-isolation per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Among school division events this week that will be affected by the new infection control measures is Western Albemarle High School’s spring musical, The Addams Family. The school will reschedule its performances at a later date.
Schmitt said that at the present time, no coronavirus cases have been identified in Albemarle County. If a case involving a student, staff member, or family member is confirmed, the school they attend will be closed for a minimum of three days to allow for deep cleaning of the building per the guidance of the health department.
The division is requesting parents to ensure that their child’s school has their current contact information and to plan for the possible need to pick up their child in the event their child becomes ill at school. Parents also should be planning child care options should it become necessary to close schools for several days or longer.v
The school division has posted its COVID-19 management plan along with helpful resources on its website at www.k12albemarle.org/coronavirus.
“We are fortunate to have so many outstanding medical professionals in our schools, a dedicated staff and parent community, and an outstanding partnership with the health department. We will continue to use all of these resources to ensure our plan is effective and timely and our learning environments remain safe,” Schmitt said.