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Supt. Ness: Addressing Public Health Concerns

A message from the United States Department of Education, Secretary of Education Duncan to school superintendents:

As you are likely aware, the United States has been experiencing a nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness that has been especially harmful to children.  At the same time, you and your communities may also have questions about the Ebola virus.  To address both public health concerns, the U.S. Department of Education and our federal health partners have a number of informational resources to share with you.

Almost all of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children.  Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing.

Below are CDC resources about EV-D68 developed for parents:

Finally, we know your communities may also have questions about what schools can do to keep students and adults safe from the Ebola virus. As you likely know, the CDC is continually updating its information on Ebola, information that can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html.

From Minnesota Department of Education’s Commissioner Brenda Cassellius:

Given the recent news about Ebola cases in Texas and the ongoing outbreak in West Africa, we understand staff, parents, and students may have questions and concerns about Ebola, particularly if you have staff or students who have recently traveled to West Africa. The risk of Ebola disease being spread in Minnesota is still extremely low, and you can continue to refer to the Minnesota Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions document and Fact Sheet about Ebola available on the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Ebola Background:

  • At this time, there is no need to exclude or avoid anyone because they have recently traveled to a county where Ebola is occurring.

  • The risk of Ebola disease being spread in Minnesota continues to be extremely low.

  • Ebola is transmitted when a person has had direct contact with the blood or body fluids (e.g., saliva, urine, vomit, feces) of an Ebola-infected person or with objects contaminated with that person’s blood or body fluids.

  • People returning from the affected areas who do not have symptoms are not infectious. There should be no restrictions on their attendance or activities.

  • Fever in people who traveled to the affected areas is most likely due to more common infectious diseases in West Africa (e.g. malaria), but should still be checked by a doctor urgently.

The Fergus Falls Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff.  Parents can help by keeping their children home when they are experiencing significant illness. The importance of hand hygiene can never be stressed enough with your family – as it is the number one way to prevent illness and infection.

Our next Wellness Committee meeting is scheduled at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, November 18 at the Kennedy Secondary School. I would like to extend a welcome to anyone in the community to participate and assist in this process within our schools.

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