I want you to know that this recommendation to close Kentucky’s public schools was not taken lightly. It was made upon the advice of our state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack and many other trusted medical professionals who have been working tirelessly over the past few days to ensure that we take a proactive approach to this issue based on science and research.
While school is out during this unprecedented time, the Kentucky Department for Public Health is asking all Kentuckians to stay away from large crowds, something known as social distancing.
We ask that you keep children from gathering with their friends at public places, such as the mall or the movies. This is most important for children with chronic diseases, such as asthma or diabetes, who are the most at-risk of catching COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to it in the first place. Remember these tips from the Department for Public Health:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick (fever, cough, sneeze, and difficulty breathing). To avoid close contact, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- 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 the trash. To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that wearing a facemask will not protect the public from COVID-19.
Here are some sources for more information that may be helpful to you and your family:
We will all need to exercise calmness and flexibility over the next month. Additionally, I know that our students face disappointment over the cancellation of school-related activities and events. However, these sacrifices are necessary for the health and safety of our communities. I know that you have a lot of questions and we are working to find answers for you (See: COVID-19: Answers to FAQs for Kentucky’s Public School Families). Despite these challenges, our public schools will continue to find ways to support students and families during this time.
Kevin C. Brown