Education

Jefferson County Public Schools says it’s ramping up prevention efforts to prepare for the possible spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday afternoon, there are no confirmed cases in Kentucky, but the state’s public health commissioner says the virus is likely to occur in the commonwealth.

A district-wide email sent Wednesday urged parents and staff to take preventative measures, like hand-washing. Spokeswoman Renee Murphy said the district has had additional communication with school administrators.

“Making sure they’re aware of our hand hygiene protocols, making sure our staff is using additional disinfectant processes, and that there will be things in place to make sure our buildings are as clean as they can possibly be,” Murphy explained in an interview.

These are part of JCPS’s existing “Pandemic Viral Event Plan,” which has seven levels of response. Murphy said JCPS is acting under Level 3. A confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kentucky would send JCPS into Level 4, at which point the district would restrict or cancel out-of-county travel for district activities as directed by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, and limit public assembly activities.

A confirmed case in Jefferson County would initiate Level 5 procedures, which would include preparations for possible school closures. The decision to close schools would come from the Louisville Metro Health Department.

Murphy said the district would continue providing services to students if schools were forced to close.

“That’s being discussed,” she said. “And so we would take guidance from the Metro health department to see what would be the best way to do that for all of our students.”

Murphy said that could include virtual instruction.

Several schools in Georgia and Washington State have shut down after confirmed cases there. All schools in Italy are closed.

Here’s JCPS’s advice on how to prevent infection:

Wash your hands frequently.

Help young students wash their hands well.

Stay home when you are feeling ill, and consult with a medical professional.

Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

Avoid close contact with anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms.

If you have had close contact with someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms who has recently traveled, please reach out to a medical professional to determine if you need to be tested.

And below is a video from JCPS on how to wash your hands properly:

 

 

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.