Coronavirus Update 2/27/2020

February 27, 2020

Dear Chappaqua Central School District Families,

I am writing to provide an update on the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from my original email dated February 6, 2020.

While there are still no confirmed cases in the region, we are closely monitoring the situation. Although officials continue to communicate that the immediate risks in our area remain extremely low, there are now global concerns about the spread of this virus as more cases are confirmed throughout the world. On the news this morning, you may have learned about Japan's decision to close schools for an extended period of time. You may be wondering how CCSD will handle a potential school closing for an extended duration. Please know that as soon as the Center for Disease Control published that schools should be prepared for closures, Dr. Adam Pease and his team began preparations to support home instruction should this extreme step become necessary. With our significant investment in technology, professional development, and blended learning across all of our schools, we are well-positioned to respond should distance learning become a reality.

The NYS Department of Health, NYS Education Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to provide guidance for school districts. Our actions have been, and will continue to be, in alignment with these recommendations. We continue to communicate regularly with our school district physicians, administrators and nursing team to ensure that our proactive approach is consistent across our schools and to immediately address concerns related to the coronavirus. Please reassure your children that they are safe and that we are carefully monitoring this situation in an age appropriate way.

There are steps we can all take to help our school community as we move forward. First and foremost, I encourage you to stay informed and gather information from reputable sources. I have included several links at the bottom of this letter for your consideration. As you may have already learned, experts continue to urge that we all follow best-practices for health and hygiene, which are also outlined below. Please help us teach and reinforce these practices with our students. Finally, we must all refrain from sharing misinformation about members of our school community in relation to the spread of the coronavirus. Be assured that you will be notified immediately should I receive any credible information which may impact the health and safety of our school community.

If you have questions or concerns regarding any of the information below, please reach out to your school's nurse or building principal.


Christine Ackerman, PhD
Superintendent of Schools

Quick Links for your consideration:


Coronavirus Guidance & Resources

CCSD has received a joint briefing by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Education which is outlined below. At this time, there are no confirmed cases in New York State and the risk to residents and students is low. 

What do we know? Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found HERE.

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China. Symptoms Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Additional Resources

General Wellness Reminders

As a reminder, winter is a time when illnesses are common in our region. Please review the steps below to determine whether or not your child should go to school.

Important Steps to Take if Your Child is Sick
Should I send my child to school today? This is a challenging question that arises whenever your child is not feeling 100%. It is difficult to create a definitive policy that covers all possibilities. The goal is to serve both the child's best interests as well as those of the rest of the school community.

Key Considerations

  • Is your child well enough to pay attention, learn, and participate in school activities? Most likely the answer is "no" if he/she is more tired than usual, persistently coughing, has a constantly runny nose or eye, or is in pain.
  • Does your child have an illness that may spread within the school setting?
  • Younger elementary school children are less reliable with hand washing and routinely covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
  • Fever is almost always a sign of acute infection and likely contagiousness, and therefore a reason to stay home.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics
Parents often face the difficult decision of whether to keep a child home from school. Experts advise sending a child to school only if he or she is well enough to learn. This means the child's symptoms do not disrupt his or her ability to concentrate in class and do not distract classmates.

Symptoms that may warrant a day at home or visit to the doctor include:

  • Persistent fever: Oral temperature >100.4º Fahrenheit.
  • Severe sore throat, especially when accompanied by a fever.
  • A significant rash, particularly when other symptoms, such as fever, are present.
  • Persistent nasal discharge, particularly if greenish or yellowish.
  • Severe ear pain.
  • A persistent or uncontrolled cough.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Severe headache, especially with a fever.

Parents can allow children to return to school after symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours.