Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students and parents returned from winter break to a word of caution from school officials. The school community is taking precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus should it appear on the Island, according to an email sent out Sunday.
The email includes a link to a letter sent to families by Superintendent Matt D’Andrea and Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School director Peter Steedman, indicating that the schools are working with state and local officials to take preventive measures, and educate students, faculty, and family members about the disease. A video link also provides answers to frequently asked questions from an expert.
The school system is continuously monitoring the advisories issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the letter.
Many of the same common health practices associated with influenza prevention are being recommended by health officials.
The letter states that janitorial staff will continue to clean and disinfect Island schools on a daily basis.
If parents have questions about their child’s health, the letter suggests a call to the school nurse.
Island schools are asking that parents keep their children home from school if they have:
- Had a temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or higher in the last 24 hours
- Used ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lower a fever in the last 24 hours
- Vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours
- Been diagnosed with a contagious infection that requires antibiotics or antivirals such as strep throat or the flu, and it has been less than 24 hours since their first dose of antibiotics or antivirals
And schools aren’t the only ones taking additional measures in health and hygiene — J.B. Blau and his team are working to prevent the spread of sickness at some of the Island’s most popular year-round restaurants.
In a post made by Blau on Islanders Talk, he said employees at Sharky’s Cantina, Chowder Co., the Loft, and Copper Wok have all been retrained on proper hand washing and personal hygiene.
“Our staff has been retrained on proper hand washing techniques and sanitization,” Blau wrote. “We now, as a group, front and back of the house, will be washing hands as often as possible, and three to five times more than before.”
Staff will not be allowed to work with a fever or cough, and will be able to return 24 hours after any symptoms are gone. Also, tables, handles, and other surfaces will be cleaned more frequently, and customers will be asked to use hand sanitizer as they enter and leave the restaurants. “If you have a cough or a fever, please do not join us until you feel better. We reserve the right to ask you to leave,” Blau wrote.
If a case is reported on the Island and a public health issue develops, Blau said he may close the dining areas, and offer exclusively takeout and delivery.
“We very much anticipate and hope this is just preparedness and not reality. While we are hopeful these policies are excessive, our No. 1 goal is to have our staff and our guests remain safe while joining us,” Blau wrote.