Community Health: COVID-19 Preparedness

We are closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. While the present information suggests a low public health risk, we have a team of administrators and staff in communication with one another on a daily basis to assess the situation.
 
We are continuing to monitor this situation through updates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Delaware County State Health Center. Please allow us to share several of the specific steps we are taking.

Prevention

First, we have redoubled our focus on preventive procedures, as recommended by the CDC. We are starting each day by reminding students about essential aspects of these procedures. We are posting additional signage near sinks and restrooms about these basic steps. As a reminder, we share these steps here:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Do not share food, drink, or utensils
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.

Secondly, our faculty, staff, and custodial team are working together to ensure that all surfaces are disinfected as necessary during the day and cleaned again at the end of school.
 
Thirdly, our nurses and members of our Child and Family Support Services are visiting every classroom to provide information about good hygiene and to answer any questions students may have.

Staying Informed

Here are several links to helpful information about COVID-19:
 
CDC website on COVID-19
 
CDC one-page fact sheet on COVID-19

Information on COVID-19 from the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Student Concerns

We also recognize that many children have heard a fair amount of news about COVID-19. As a result, some may be experiencing anxiety and seeking comfort. To that end, our Child and Family Support Services staff is available to speak with students who may have questions and concerns. In addition, we offer this piece from the Child Mind Institute which offers good guidance as to how to discuss the virus with your son or daughter.
 
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus

In Case of Illness

Of course, the most important preventative step we can take as a community is to be sure that we attend closely to our guidelines with regard to what to do if we suspect that any member of our school community is ill.
 
We have reviewed these guidelines with all of our professional staff and shared our expectation that, if they are sick, they must stay home. As you monitor your own family’s health we remind you of the relevant features of our policy regarding when to keep your child home from school:

If your child is experiencing:

  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher. Your child should be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications before returning to school unless cleared by a healthcare provider.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea within the past 24 hours, unless the vomiting can be attributed to a non-contagious illness.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath until cleared by a healthcare provider.
  • Significant cold symptoms including a significant and frequent cough and excessive nasal drainage.

Notifications

You must notify us immediately if your child or any member of your immediate family is diagnosed with either the flu or COVID-19. The symptoms of COVID-19 can be very similar to the flu and include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The suspected incubation period is believed to be from two to 14 days.

As always, we will contact parents as needed. Please be sure all of your contact information is current and you have plans in place to arrange pick up your child should it be recommended. 

Planning Ahead

Given that we are coming near a vacation break, we strongly encourage any families who have travel plans to review the Travel Health Notices that the CDC has put in place.

Lastly, our consideration of this dynamic situation is not just day-to-day. Even as we see such scenarios as a prolonged school closing as unlikely, we are in conversation with local school leaders, the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, and the National Association of Independent Schools about protocols for sustaining student learning if school would need to be closed for more than just a few days.

We appreciate your partnership and patience during this period of uncertainty. Feel free to contact any one of us if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Ralph Wales, Interim Head of School
Carolyn Robbins, RN, MS, CSN
Marie Schueren, RN

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About Benchmark School

Benchmark School, located at 2107 N. Providence Road, Media, Pa., is an independent, not-for-profit day school serving students in grades 1-8. Founded in 1970, the school is committed to helping bright students who have yet to reach their academic potential become confident and strategic thinkers, learners, and problem solvers who meet with success in school and life. For more information about Benchmark School, please call 610-565-3741 or visit BenchmarkSchool.org.