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School district on top of Ebola preparedness
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Forsyth County News

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* The signs and symptoms of Ebola, which may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure, include: fever; severe headache; muscle pain; weakness; diarrhea; vomiting; abdominal pain; and unexplained, unusual bleeding or bruising.

* If you encounter someone who may meet the case definition — and has recently traveled to Ebola-affected West African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea within the past 21 days — call the Georgia Department of Public Health at (866) 782-4584.

* Note: Hand washing is still the best, most effective method to protect against the spread of infectious disease.


Source: Georgia Department of Health

FORSYTH COUNTY — As news of Ebola continues to circulate, the Forsyth County school system has been fielding questions about how it is responding.

Although officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said the U.S. is at low risk, the Georgia Department of Public health has issued guidance to schools regarding the virus.

In a news release, the local school district said its officials are “working closely with local and state health agencies to stay informed and prepared to maintain the safety of our children.”

Jennifer Caracciolo, a spokeswoman for the district, said schools have received a “small number of calls,” but those were mainly “concerning our procedures for communicable diseases.”

The district wants parents to know its administration is staying abreast of updates and recommendations, she said.

“If, by chance, [Ebola] does occur in Forsyth County Schools … we do have a plan of action,” she said.

Among the steps the school system has taken:

* Its health services facilitator met with the local health department to discuss preparation and planning.

* The student support services department and the health services facilitator are “continuously monitoring, tracking and keeping abreast of updates and recommendations from local and state health authorities” and the CDC.

* The health services facilitator provides updates and reviews current guidelines with all school nurses.

* Developed new processes and guidelines and updated protocols for new student enrollment to address the virus. These will be used by the district and school health teams and are consistent with the state health department’s recommendations and CDC guidelines for schools, colleges and universities.

* Principals were informed of the district’s preparation and planning.

* Bought additional safety equipment and supplies for school clinics.

* The communicable diseases committee organized communication resources to share with parents and school communities.