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COVID-19 101 Guntersville City Schools

HOW COVID-19 SPREADS - COVID-19 is thought to primarily spread through person-to-person contact, either between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can land in the mouth, noses, or eyes of nearby people.  The virus can also spread through contaminated surfaces, where it may be present for a few hours or even a few days (CDC).

INCUBATION PERIOD - The time from someones exposure to when the first symptoms develop.  Recent studies have found the incubation period of Covid-19 to be 2-4 days and is most commonly around 5 days, but could be as long as 14 days. (CDC)

SYMPTOMS - Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.  Fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  These symptoms usually occur 2-14 days after exposure.  Symptoms can range from very mild to severe.  In some cases, individuals have no symptoms (CDC).

SOCIAL DISTANCING - The act of remaining out of crowded public spaces where close contact with others may occur and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others (CDC)

CLOSE CONTACT OR "CONTACT ZONE" - An area within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 and for a duration of 15 minutes or longer (with or without a mask on).  Can occur at home, school, caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with an individual who has COVID-19.  (CDC)

EXPOSED - You have been in the "Contact Zone" with an individual who is identified to have had symptoms or an active case of COVID-19.  (Not a specific CDC definition but implied)

MASK OR FACE COVERING - A cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose.  The mask slows the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the release of the virus into the air. This improves the chances of those that may have been in the "contact zone" from actually contracting the virus although still being exposed.

QUARANTINE -  A 14 day evaluation period directed by CDC at home (after being in the "contact zone") to monitor for symptoms.  Persons are quarantined if reasonably believed to have been exposed to the virus.  Symptoms to those exposed will likely appear within 2-14 days and in most commonly around 5 days.,  (CDC)

ISOLATION - The separation of a person or a group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with Covid-19 from those not infected, and to prevent its spread. (CDC)

Why is social distancing important? - It keeps you out of the "contact zone"

Why is wearing a mask important? - If caught in or unable to avoid the "contact zone", it improves your chances of not being infected.

Why is quarantine important? - To protect others until you are sure you have not been infected.

Why is isolation important? - To keep someone infected from spreading the virus to others

Why is sanitizing important? - To remove the virus (if present) from high contact areas 

The more we all know and understand, the safer we all will be as we reopen our schools.

We can not be certain COVID-19 will not be introduced into our schools nor that everyone in our schools could or would remain socially separated 100% of the time. We must all be smart, educated, and prepared. We must have and execute effective protocols in place for when the "what ifs happen".

We will be ready and we will all get beyond this together but only if we continue to work as the team we are.

Thanks in Advance for all you do and continue to do, and let's all be smart and safe - our students are depending on it.

Bo McRee
Transportation / Safety / Security