“We need to make sure that we are prepared for, not scared of this coronavirus,” Sen. Addabbo said.
By Forum Staff
There are certain measures that all schools can take to educate their students on the coronavirus and how to prevent it, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) announced Tuesday, adding that he wants to ensure that the City school system is prepared to protect the health of students and faculty in the event of a larger outbreak.
Addabbo indicated that he continues to receive updates on the virus and how it’s tracking in Queens, across the state, and the rest of the country. According to the most recent data provided to the senator, coronavirus can stay on surfaces—such as metal, glass or plastic—for as long as nine days. Coupled with an incubation period of up to 14 days, teachers and students alike must be consistent with protective hygienic measures and habits, Addabbo noted.
The main thing teachers should do is discuss the importance of students washing their hands with soap and water and to cover their coughs and sneezes in their elbow or into a tissue, as this is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, the senator said. Teachers should also be disinfecting all devices and equipment used by students, especially shared equipment like calculators, musical instruments, whiteboards, markers, gym equipment, mats and other surfaces after every period.
“I want to urge the NYC Department of Education and our private-school system to take precautions against the spreading of the coronavirus,” Addabbo said. “If a student or teacher is feeling ill, they should not come to school and risk infecting others. Instead, they should go to their doctor for a proper diagnosis and return to school only when feeling back to normal. It is our responsibility to take this health crisis seriously and do all that we can to prevent its spread.”
Additionally, the senator said, schools should consider obtaining hand-sanitizing dispensers and refills for multiple common areas, including the main office, cafeteria, library, bathrooms and hallways to protect students and staff, as well as surgical masks for potential use by the kitchen and serving staff and for use by students if need be in the future.
In order to combat the outbreak, DOE is hiring an additional 85 school nurses to ensure every district school building has a full-time nurse by the end of the week; all international school trips have been cancelled for the remainder of the school year; and DOE has also sent a survey to non-public schools to help identify shortages of paper towels, soap, hand sanitizers, and medical supplies, and will distribute materials to any school experiencing shortages, the senator noted.
“We need to make sure that we are prepared for, not scared of this coronavirus,” Addabbo added. “If the public panics, it just makes matters worse as this situation continues to evolve.”
For up-to-date information, visit nyc.coronavirus.com. Residents with questions regarding the virus can also call (888) 364-3065 to speak to experts from the State Department of Health.