To our Holy Cross Community:
I am writing to update our community on how Holy Cross High School is addressing the current cold & flu season, including our approach with respect to the outbreak of coronavirus in China.
Coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan, which is in the Hubei province of China. While coronavirusus are very common, this particular strain - 2019-nCoV - can cause severe respiratory illness. As of this writing, there were five confirmed cases in the United States. All five cases were people who had returned from Wuhan, China. Several sources including the Center for Disease Control have indicated in the national media that the current health risk to the U.S. is low.
Similar to other school districts, Holy Cross High School is experiencing a higher than average number of absences this season. Seasonal influenza accounts for the increased rate of sickness and absences at Holy Cross. Nothing in our current experience with respect to absences - either student or staff - indicates anything other than that we are experiencing a challenging cold and flu season.
We have been monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with both our on-site health office as well as with AIEP, an agency which supports our international students and host families. We have paid particular attention to the point of origin for our students, their travel patterns (particularly in relation to the 10-14 day incubation period) physical exams, and ongoing assessment of symptoms. Currently, and based on all of these factors, coronavirus does not pose a concern to Holy Cross High School.
We have taken proactive measures, including but not limited to the following:
- Our staff, including our onsite nurse, is monitoring our student population closely, and in a manner consistent with best practices and relevant guidelines;
- Holy Cross High School is recommending that our International students not travel home to China at this point.
- At this time, we will postpone any travel by faculty or staff to China;
- We are communicating helpful ways to stay healthy to our students, teachers and staff. The first of these communications can be found posted in the January 25th edition of the Weekly Planner;
- All of our classrooms and common rooms are equipped with mounted hand sanitizer dispensers;
- Our janitorial staff and external cleaning service are increasing the frequency of cleaning classrooms, bathrooms, common areas and all other high-touch areas. We are utilizing recommended cleaning agents that target a wide variety of viruses;
- If any student exhibits flu like symptoms, we are asking parents and families to keep their children home. Students should be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
- Any student feeling ill during school-time should report promptly to the nurse.
I am aware that this is a time of heightened concern for many. The health and safety of our students will always be our highest priority. We will continue to monitor this situation closely as it evolves. While remaining diligent and erring on the side of caution, it is also important to proceed in an informed and reasonable way, avoiding over-reaction and conjecture. With this as our approach, I am confident we will continue to be what Holy Cross High School has always been - a community that is open, welcoming, responsive and supportive of all.
Thank you for your attention and support.
Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, President