GCPS Ebola Preparedness
Dear Parents and Community Members:
Recently, there have been a number of stories about Ebola and questions have arisen about how schools are responding. Although the CDC continues to state that the U.S. is at low risk, the Georgia Department of Public Health has issued guidance to schools regarding the Ebola Virus. Rest assured that Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is working closely with local and state health agencies to stay informed and prepared to maintain the safety of our children. This message is not intended to alarm you but to make you aware of our policies and processes and to assure you of our diligence toward the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
Below you will find a detailed list of what we have already done and how we are staying informed about this issue.
- Our Director of Health and Social Services and our Lead County Nurse have met with the Gwinnett County Health Department director and epidemiologists to discuss preparation and planning for our school system.
- The Office of Health and Social Services is continuously monitoring, tracking, and keeping abreast of updates and recommendations from local and state health authorities as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- The Department of Health and Social Services is conducting ongoing meetings with district school nurses to provide updates and to review current guidelines and recommendations issued by the Georgia Department of Public Health (Ga. DPH) and CDC.
- The Department of Health and Social Services has reviewed standard infectious disease control processes and have developed new processes and guidelines to address Ebola for use by the school district, school health team, and school clinics which are consistent with Georgia Public Health recommendations and CDC guidelines for schools.
- Information has been shared with all principals to provide an update on district preparation and planning.
- GCPS is adding information to the GCPS website to provide updates and pertinent information to share with parents and staff.
- GCPS has updated protocols for new student enrollment based on information received from the Department of Public Health. For a number of years, GCPS’ International Newcomers Center (INC) has welcomed new middle and high school students (grades 6-12) who have attended school in another country. GCPS is extending the services of the INC to assist elementary schools in the enrollment of students who come to GCPS from or through West Africa (specifically, the countries of Guinea, and Sierra Leone). The INC will schedule intake for these students so that they can screen the student, gathering health and travel information, as well as details about the child's academic history. These individuals will not be allowed to enter school without proper clearance and approval by the Superintendent or his designee.
- If a current student or employee of GCPS travels to or from Guinea, or Sierra Leone, that individual will have to be assessed for risk prior to returning to school.
- GCPS will remain engaged with our local health authorities on any potential Ebola concerns and to ensure proper protocols and procedures are being followed.
- GCPS will continue to monitor the Ebola situation and provide employees, parents, and community members with updates as the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority.
Additional Resources from Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information
- Department of Public Health Guidance for Schools (10/6/2014)
- Ebola Fact Sheet
- Department of Public Health Guidance for Schools Update - Travel (10/24/2014)