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COVID-19 Updates

This page has been created to update the Westtown School’s community and provide resources regarding the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Please check back often for the latest updates. The Centers for Disease Control has created this list of frequently asked questions and answers about the new coronavirus.

COVID-19: The Basics

What is a coronavirus and what is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. A novel (new) coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2, which causes a disease named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19), has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including in the United States.

At this time, the CDC reports that most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States.

What are the symptoms of this coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The symptoms can include a cough, possibly with a fever and shortness of breath. There are some early reports of non-respiratory symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Many people have minimal or no symptoms, and recover within a few days. However, some people—especially people who have a weakened immune system—may develop a more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

How is it treated?
Scientists are working hard to understand COVID-19, and health authorities have posted its full genome in international databases. Currently, there are no approved antivirals for this particular coronavirus (COVID-19), so treatment is supportive. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness and recover without specialized intervention. For the sickest patients with this illness, specialized, aggressive care in an intensive care unit (ICU) can be lifesaving.

How does it spread?
Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.

How do you prevent the spread of the flu and other illnesses?
All students, staff, and families are advised to follow the same practices that help prevent the spread of the flu, the common cold, and other illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners that are at least 60-95% alcohol are also effective.
  • It’s ok not to share personal items. It’s “nicer” to keep friends healthy.
  • Stay home if you are sick! If your child is sick or exhibiting contagious symptoms such as fever, coughing/sneezing, or shortness of breath, please keep them home from school to avoid spreading illness. Westtown asks that students should be fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Encourage your children to cough or sneeze into their elbows instead of hands, which are more likely to spread bacteria and the flu virus through touch. The main way that the flu spreads is from person to person is in the droplets produced by coughs and sneezes.
  • Limit touching your face and mouth with bare hands.
  • Disinfect the 'hot zones' in your residence. These include the kitchen and bathroom — two rooms that can have a high concentration of bacteria and other infectious agents.

Where can I go with additional questions?
Please reach out to Health Center Director Theresa Sardella, your division principal, or Westtown’s COVID-19 team.


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