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Newport-Mesa district considers limiting field trips but not closing schools over coronavirus

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District plans to update the public at Wednesday’s board meeting on its planning and protocols related to the coronavirus. The “health services update” is an information-only item and no board action is expected.
(File Photo)

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District is considering limiting field trips but not closing schools due to the global coronavirus outbreak, the district said Tuesday.

In its latest online update to parents about the virus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, the district made these key announcements:

  • There is currently no consideration of school closures.
  • The district is considering “limiting, delaying or canceling student study trips. … While public health officials have recommended no cancellations of public events or school functions, we are considering strategies to limit large school gatherings.”
  • Students or staff who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 14 days “shall be excluded from school or work,” as will anyone who has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. China, Iran, Italy and South Korea are under a “Level 3” travel health warning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of wide and sustained spread of the virus. The CDC recommends against nonessential travel to those countries and a 14-day self-quarantine upon return.
  • Absences for illness and self-quarantine will be excused.
  • If a student or staff member is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, the district will “work with local, state and county health agencies and follow their directives and guidance in preventing the spread of the disease.”
  • The district reiterated that international transfer students from “any affected area” must self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival in the United States. “All new families to the district from affected countries will be asked to willingly provide travel information and meet with an administrator to verify the accuracy of the information provided. If there is a concern about the information or the student’s health status, district health professionals, county and/or state health agencies will be contacted.”

UCI announced late Tuesday afternoon that a person had been tested for COVID-19 at the Student Health Center. The campus is not closing, though it is taking several precautionary measures amid coronavirus concerns, the school said.

Newport-Mesa plans to update the public at Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting on its planning and protocols related to the coronavirus. The “health services update” is an information-only item and no board action is expected.

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