Frequently Asked Questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
What is the Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus?
The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports several cases in the United States, and no cases in Texas (as of Feb. 28, 2020).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
- Shortness of breath
How is the COVID-19 virus spread?
According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 belongs to a family of viruses called “coronavirus.” There are other viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals These viruses can cause either mild illness like a cold or can make people very sick with pneumonia. This particular coronavirus has not been seen previously in humans. The virus is likely to be spread from person to person. Since the virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.
How will I know if I or my children have the flu or COVID-19?
While both these illnesses are respiratory viruses with symptoms of fever and a cough, it is recommended that anyone experiencing these symptoms visit a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.
What can I do to prevent being infected or spreading the virus?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a covered trashcan.
- If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What is the district doing to protect students and staff?
Dallas ISD is following the guidance of Dallas County Health and Human Services, which is working closely with the CDC, local governments, and health care providers to prepare for and respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Dallas ISD Health Services has issued guidance for school nurses to use in identifying and assessing the health status of students or staff who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
What will the district do if someone at a school or office is diagnosed with COVID-19?
If both exposure and symptoms of fever or respiratory illness are present, nurses are instructed to inform the principal, isolate the individual, and contact Dallas ISD Health Services for additional guidance.
Where necessary, cleaning and disinfection will take place in accordance with Department of Environmental Health Services Standard Operation Procedures and DCHHS recommendations.
What are some other sources of information and updates?
The following resources are available to help the public stay informed about COVID-19.
- Dallas County Health and Human Services – www.dallascounty.org/departments/dchhs/
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/COVID19
- Texas Department of State Health Services – www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
- Dallas ISD school nurses and the district’s Health Services Department are also trusted sources of information.
Should I or my children wear masks?
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Will schools be closed if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Dallas?
School closures are one of several options available to district leadership to control the spread of COVID-19 if recommended by the CDC or other health authorities. Currently, these authorities are reporting no cases of the illness in Dallas, where the risk of infection is low, so there is no current need to close schools. Dallas ISD will continue to monitor the progress of the illness and communicate with parents and staff on an ongoing basis.
What is being done to keep schools clean and protect students?
Custodial staff will perform extra cleaning of schools and district offices, and school bus drivers have been asked to clean bus interiors. If needed, the district has access to large-scale outside vendors who can deep-clean classrooms and schools. Counselors are prepared to conduct guidance lessons with students, and Information will be shared with school staffs on how to speak to students about the disease.