February 28, 2020
Dear Education Partner,
You are likely aware of the
coronavirus, or COVID-19, that has become prevalent in other countries around
the world. I’d like to provide an update of what has been done to
prepare, in the event an outbreak occurs in Pennsylvania, and where you can
access additional information.
Earlier this month, the state
Department of Health (DOH) activated the Health Emergency Operations Center to
streamline cross sector coordination. DOH also continues to update factsheets
and information about the virus on its website. You can find the most current
information for schools by visiting DOH’s Coronavirus website or by connecting through PDE’s website
(under the “Schools” tab).
The best way to prepare for
an outbreak in Pennsylvania continues to be ensuring you and your education
community are practicing good hygiene, including washing hands, covering coughs
and sneezes, keeping surfaces clean, and encouraging people to stay home if
they are sick.
As school leaders you should
also take the opportunity to review your existing pandemic plan, and work with
local health and emergency officials to update those plans to address a
potential virus outbreak in your community.
Additional resources to aid
in your planning can be found below.
Please note that school
nurses, who are under the jurisdiction of DOH, will receive school health
information directly from DOH as it becomes available. I will forward
this information to you as the Department receives it.
Also, please remember to
include any on-site educational partners (i.e. early childhood providers,
community partners, etc.) in development and communication efforts related to
The Department of Education
will continue to coordinate with DOH and others to ensure that Pennsylvania is
prepared should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 here. I encourage you to
check DOH’s website regularly for the most up-to-date information and to work
with your local officials to ensure your community has a plan suited to meet
We are in the process of
developing additional guidance to address topics we know you will be
considering as you move forward in your planning. Look for weekly updates for
this information as it becomes available.