The message below was sent out to all P-H-M staff and families the afternoon of March 3, 2020.
Dear P-H-M Families,
The health, safety and well-being of Penn-Harris-Madison students and staff are our top priorities. With the ongoing elevated discussion regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the world news, we are reaching out to remind everyone in the P-H-M family about the preventive safety measures we can all take, as well as to inform you what we at P-H-M are doing.
As a school district, we are closely monitoring the situation via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The CDC is providing local expert and community guidance through the St. Joseph County Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Health. We are also receiving information from the U.S. Department of Education and the Indiana Department of Education, as well as a host of other state and national professional organizations. The one good thing about this situation is that there is an abundance of expert guidance. We are following the advice and direction of the governmental entities in charge. As a district, we are focusing on the things within our control.
All of the health officials are uniformly reiterating that the best preventive measure that each and every one of us can do is practice good hand hygiene. The same precautions that we annually remind our students, at all grade levels, during the cold and flu season are the exact same practices that the CDC is recommending to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Clean hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose. Remind your students to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The best thing to do is to cough/sneeze into your elbow. Second best is to cover the mouth and nose area with a tissue and then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
P-H-M’s janitorial staff already cleans common areas and disinfects common touch surfaces regularly. We ramp up these efforts during the cold and flu season. Under the current circumstances and in an abundance of precaution, P-H-M is taking extra steps to increase our normal diligent disinfectant measures.
As stated in all P-H-M Student Handbooks if students are sick please keep them home. Students should not return to school until they are fever and symptom free for 24 hours. We are constantly reminding families to practice this ongoing safety practice year round.
As it pertains to concerns over COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC has very specific recommendations if the symptoms coincide with recent travel to specific countries on their watch lists.
This situation continues to evolve. P-H-M Administrators are staying abreast of the information, as we have since the beginning. If the need should arise to change or defer from our normal operations, rest assured we will communicate with our families and staff immediately.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
Dr. Jerry Thacker
Superintendent of Schools