Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SMMUSD Updates Norovirus Alert, John Adams Middle School Closure

"We're looking forward to a productive day Monday ... Wash your hands!"

Dear Rogers, Grant, Edison, Muir, SMASH and Samohi families,

As you may be aware, we closed John Adams Middle School on Friday to help control the spread of a gastrointestinal illness, possibly Norovirus, as recommended by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Some JAMS families also have students at our other schools, which we have been monitoring for signs of illness. All SMMUSD schools are open Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

The JAMS campus had been cleaned every night since Monday night, in our efforts to immediately control the spread of this highly contagious illness. Special cleaning took place this weekend at Samohi and feeder schools, moving us forward in the best interest of our families and our community in mind.

The Friday closure at JAMS was done as an attempt to get ahead of the virus and potentially stop its spread there and to other campuses. The district operations staff cleaned JAMS and the feeder schools (Rogers, Grant, Edison, Muir and SMASH), targeting all contact surfaces in classrooms and throughout the school, including restrooms and locker rooms, with approved products known to kill Norovirus. This method, called terminal cleaning, is an attempt to decrease the amount of virus. At Samohi, custodians treated specific areas of concern on Friday night. Carpets and rugs in preschool through second grade classes have been vacuumed with HEPA vacuums (we do this daily, but did it again over the weekend).

On Friday, prior to weekend cleaning, we met with a team from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Through this process they validated the strategies implemented this past week and supported our plans for the weekend. They also stressed two methods of controlling this highly contagious illness moving forward:

Washing hands with soap is critical to preventing future spread of the virus. This is especially important after bathroom use and prior to eating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has instructions to ensure effectiveness:

If you have had symptoms associated with this virus (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, aches or fever) YOU MUST STAY HOME FOR 72 ADDITIONAL HOURS AFTER SYMPTOMS GO AWAY. Those affected are still contagious even when they feel healthy again. We understand this can put a lot of stress on a family when kids are home from school, however, it is so important to not come back early and expose others to the virus while still contagious.

Based on consultation and ongoing guidance from the LACDPH, we hope that these actions will limit potential exposure from the school facilities. The other part is to limit exposure from those who have contracted the virus and are contagious.

If you have medical questions, please contact your school nurse. If your child is staying home with an illness or recovering from this virus, please call your attendance office each day they are absent. Please, keep your student home until 72 hours after the symptoms go away to minimize the further spread.

We are looking forward to a productive day of learning on all our campuses Monday!

Thank you.

Sincerely, Lora Morn, District Nurse

Carey Upton, Chief Operations Officer



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