The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) on Jan. 26, 2020 confirmed the first case in the county of the 2019 novel coronavirus. The virus originated in Wuhan City, China and has not been identified before in humans.
DPH is providing updated information on the coronavirus on its website here.
LACOE is working closely with DPH to provide guidelines and resources to school districts so they can provide accurate information to their communities and take appropriate action.
According to DPH, despite the case in L.A. County, there is no immediate threat to the general public and no special precautions are required.
Information for schools:
- Students should not be excluded from school or any activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel (including travel to Wuhan City, China).
- Students with travel to Wuhan City, China should only be excluded if they have symptoms of respiratory illness (see below).
- The Centers for Disease Control and DPH currently do not recommend the use of masks for general prevention. Handwashing provides better protection from infectious diseases.
- Schools can play an important role to educate students, parents and staff by providing factual information on the coronavirus. FAQ documents in English, Spanish and Chinese available here.
Guidelines for schools:
- Place visible posters requesting students with a fever and recent international travel to immediately notify health office staff. Printable posters are available on the DPH website here.
- For any general illness, emphasize handwashing and staying home if sick. Students should stay home until fever free for 24 hours.
Does the student have:
- Fever (T >100.4° F or >38°C)
- Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND
- Travel to Wuhan City, China
IF NO and student does not meet all three criteria then STOP here and follow general health office guidelines for when to send a student home based upon symptoms.
IF YES and student meets all three criteria, then immediately isolate the student:
- Place surgical mask on student
- Isolate student in another room with door closed
STEP 3: Health office staff attending to the student should use standard precautions – mask, gloves and handwashing.
- Notify school nurse
- School nurse or designee to contact parent to verify travel to Wuhan City region and inform parent public health department will be contacted immediately
- School nurse to immediately call DPH – Acute Communicable Disease Control for next steps:
- ACDC (888) 397-3993 or (213) 240-7941 or for after hours (213) 974-1234
- DPH will advise how to transport student to the hospital
- Parent may be advised to pick up student and transport to the hospital
- Student health information, including infectious disease, is confidential and not to be shared with other students or staff as per FERPA (not HIPAA)
- Confidential health information, including infectious disease, can be shared with DPH as per Health and Safety Code laws.
- Do not send out disease notification letters to students, parents or staff unless directed by DPH.
- Flu is still circulating and this season flu cases are more prevalent among children, so schools may be experiencing high levels of illness. It’s not too late for students and families to be immunized. Resources for flu information are available from DPH here. Resources include posters for schools to encourage parents to keep sick children home.
LACOE will continue to keep districts updated as new information is available from DPH.