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MLWGS and the COVID-19 virus health and safety preparations

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Dear MLWGS families and staff,

Maintaining a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment remains a top priority for the Maggie Walker Governor’s School. School leaders are collaborating with and continuing to look for guidance from the Richmond Health District and the Virginia Department of Health regarding the latest national and international news regarding a new virus known as COVID-19.

COVID-19, a type of coronavirus as it is more commonly known, appears to have originated in China. Aided by international travel, there are reported cases and outbreaks in other countries. As of the writing of this letter, there are no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Richmond or in Virginia.

Last month, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Staff members and families seeking general information about the coronavirus can visit the VDH and CDC websites for the most current information.

In addition to working with local and state health leaders, school leaders are revisiting previous pandemic flu plans to see how they can be adapted to address any concerns regarding the coronavirus. The school will monitor scheduled summer trips overseas and domestic travel in the United States as necessary.

The school also continues to promote and implement strategies to reduce disease transmission while students are at school. Our custodial team pays daily attention to common touchpoints, works to see that soap and paper towel dispensers are stocked, and communicates regularly with vendors to make sure they are adhering to proper disinfection protocols.

The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are similar to the common flu – fever, cough, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. As with any cold or flu, it is important for everyone to follow these self-care habits to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid sharing food or beverages.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Most importantly for ensuring a healthy school environment, if your child has a fever of 100 degrees or higher they should stay home.  They may return when they have been off medications (such as ibuprofen or Tylenol) and are fever free for 24 hours.

We are making preparations to continue instruction remotely in the event a short term or long term closure is needed.  We are receiving guidance on this from the participating school divisions and the Virginia Department of Education. 

As we receive additional guidance, we will share updates with families and staff members.

Additional Information can be found at:

The CDC:

The VDH:

Thank you for your continued support!

Max Smith
MLWGS Assistant Director