State health officials advise Elk Grove Unified to focus on virus prevention

Coronavirus

ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Japanese government recently announced that it will be closing all schools for a month to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Local officials, however, don’t think such drastic measures are necessary yet.

It’s no secret that viruses can spread quickly in schools. Students work together closely, sharing books, supplies and plenty of germs. So, with the threat of coronavirus, districts are taking extra precautions.

“Students and staff: Their health and safety is our top priority,” said Xanthi Pinkerton, who is the Elk Grove Unified School’s spokesperson.

Pinkerton told FOX40 that state health officials are warning them to prepare for potential cases in their schools. It’s why nurses are going into classrooms to reteach handwashing and focus on prevention.

“Lathering up the soap with your hands for a good 20 seconds, rinsing, drying your hands. Not using your clothes to dry your hand,” explained Pinkerton. “And we’re going to be working with our school nurses. They have activities for younger students.”

They also have teachers keeping a close eye out for any symptoms.

“If we have any concerns there we’ll go in and do a cleaning,” said Pinkerton.

So far, there are no confirmed cases in Elk Grove schools. And if they do see an outbreak, Pinkerton said they’d follow the recommendations of public health officials, which include school closures.

“Closures of schools are very difficult decisions for us to make because they’re not only for education but there also for nutrition for many families who wouldn’t otherwise have those meals,” said Pinkerton.

Down the road at Cosumnes River College and American River College, two students were already exposed to a patient with the virus through their jobs as medical professionals.

Health officials told them to quarantine themselves in their homes for 14 days and stressing that there’s no immediate threat on campus. But students can’t help but wonder whether they’re at risk.

For now, districts will watch the spread of the virus closely to see whether more drastic measures on their part will be necessary. Elk Grove Unified said that if a student needs to undergo a quarantine, they are of course excused from school.

They stress that any kids who are not feeling well should stay home.

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