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Middletown Area School District not planning to cancel classes over coronavirus, but 'COVID-19 continues to evolve'

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Middletown Area School District has no plans at this point to cancel classes or curtail extracurricular activities because of the coronavirus, Superintendent Lori Suski said in a web post Thursday.

She also urged the community not to rely “on social media postings that may be fake and contain inaccurate information.”

Suski pointed out that there are no confirmed cases in Dauphin County, and that the district is following its emergency preparedness plan as it awaits “further direction from the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education.”

Here is the note from Suski.

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Two weeks ago we released a communication on the District’s response to the growing public health concern related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since that time, we continue to receive daily updates from local and state officials since COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic. School District officials across our region met yesterday with emergency management to discuss what additional measures may be necessary to prevent the spread of illness if/when COVID-19 eventually reaches our area. Please note that as of today, there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Dauphin County. We continue to take our lead from information received from the CDC, federal, state and local emergency management agencies. At this time, those agencies are not recommending K-12 public schools cancel classes but continue to utilize best practices in prevention of the spread of any illness. Should this guidance change, we will alert you immediately.

In addition to the preventative measures already in place, such as daily cleaning of classroom surfaces, door knobs, railings, and “high touch” surfaces, we remind students and staff to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating. Hand sanitizers have been placed in common areas of each school building. We continue to ask that students and staff refrain from shaking hands, touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Most importantly, students or staff who are sick should remain at home.

MASD continues to follow its emergency preparedness plan which calls for preventative measures as described above and continuous monitoring of the situation based on daily updates from emergency management officials. We also continue to monitor daily student and staff attendance and review plans for upcoming field trips and events. Again, with no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, we have not been advised to curtail any extra-curricular activities or in-school events. As situations change, we will adjust accordingly and continue to communicate those decisions with you. THIS LINK contains information from Dauphin County regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 continues to evolve, so we must continuously review the facts and make decisions in the best interest of students and employees. We await further direction from the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education. There are many rumors circulating about the closure of school districts; therefore, we have been advised to let parents and employees know that any information about our District’s response to COVID-19 will be posted on the District website and communicated to parents via School Messenger email. Please do not rely on social media postings that may be fake and contain inaccurate information. When in doubt as to the accuracy of information you hear, please contact the School District Administration Office or your child’s school directly for confirmation or clarification as needed.

Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation as we navigate this public health concern together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori A. Suski

Superintendent of Schools