Dear Bettendorf Community School District Parents/Guardians and Staff:
There is an expanding global outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease the virus causes has been named COVID-19. While most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, and there is no person-to-person spread in the U.S. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low; however, the potential of the public health threat is high.
The Bettendorf Community School District administration and health center staffs are working with state and local public health partners to review and update emergency plans. Out of an abundance of caution, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Bettendorf District do advise parents/guardians to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way you would prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine. Please take some time to make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? Bettendorf students who have been issued an electronic device for school purposes are advised to take the device and charger home every evening until this health concern has passed.
Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with reports of illness and death in other countries; however, it is equally important to understand the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now. While COVID-19 is not currently circulating in the U.S. or in Iowa, influenza is circulating at high levels. The prevention measures for influenza and COVID-19 are the same.
The Bettendorf School District is providing opportunities and appropriate supplies for handwashing. Additionally, the custodial staff at all district schools is continuing regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.
If you have questions about the COVID-19 itself, please contact IDPH’s Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE) at (800) 362-2736. If you have questions specific to a Bettendorf school, please contact that school or the administration center at 359-3681.