COVID-19 and Spring Break Travel Communication

Sent to Staff and Families on March 11, 2020

Thank you for your continued attention and interest in how we, as a school district, are handling information and recommendations regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is truly something on the minds of many; your health and well-being drives our continued efforts to provide safe environments for all.

We recently received information from the Polk County Health Department regarding travel. With spring break around the corner, this information is timely and serves as a benefit to review. Below are highlights from the memo; attached to this email is the complete communication from PCH. As we have stated before, for up-to-date recommendations and information, please visit the Polk County Health or Iowa Department of Public Health websites.

Before Travel

  • Most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low.
  • Iowa Department of Public Health is asking individuals who are traveling China or Iran be placed into a 14-day quarantine upon their return. Iowans returning from a country where novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days following their return. Areas in this travel notice currently include: Italy, Japan and South Korea.
  • At this present time, the CDC does not have any guidance on restricting travel in the United States. Again, this is current information and may change when you return from your trip. If you have questions regarding travel, please call your local health department. If you live in Polk County, please call (515) 286-3890. As a parent and guardian of a child, you are welcome to make your own decisions on whether or not to cancel your trip.

During Travel

Promote and practice personal protective measures and illness prevention strategies to slow the spread of viruses. There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze preferably with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

After Travel

  • If you traveled to China or Iran, you will be placed into a 14-day quarantine by public health. If you traveled to Italy, Japan and South Korea, you will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days. For additional information about self-isolation, please visit: Iowa Department of Public Health’s Website.
  • As previously stated, there is no guidance from CDC regarding travel restrictions within the United States. If you think your child has been exposed to COVID-19 on your spring break trip, do not send them to school. Instead, please call your school nurse first and they can help assess the situation and provide guidance regarding travel and COVID-19.
  • For frequently asked questions and answers regarding travel including: should I cancel my trip, is it safe to go on a cruise, risk of COVID-19 on an airplane and returning from a recently affected country, please visit: CDC – Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Again, thank you for your continued attention to this important topic. As information continues to become available, we will communicate all we can with you, this includes the days over spring break. I, along with other district leaders, will be monitoring the situation, attending available webinars and calls, and passing along the information we receive.

Read the full communication from Polk County Health here.