MEDFORD, Ore. — The Phoenix-Talent School District told parents and staff on Tuesday that it would be deep cleaning parts of Orchard Hill Elementary because of a possibility, however slight, that someone at the school came into contact with COVID-19.
"Recently, we received information that a member of our school community may have been in contact with somebody out-of-state who may have COVID-19," superintendent Brent Barry said in a statement. "We are working closely with Jackson County Public Health to follow-up on this information. It is important to note, the member of the school community has not shown any signs or symptoms of illness."
Barry said that the school's custodial staff were immediately ordered to begin a deep clean of classrooms and common areas in the school "out of an abundance of caution." More staff will be on hand throughout the week to continue disinfecting as needed.
"In addition to manual wiping of surfaces, an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer was used," Barry continued. "The electrostatic spray machine deploys charged disinfectant particles into an area that covers every surface in the space. Moreover we are working with our maintenance and facilities team to prioritize the disinfecting of our schools this week and throughout Spring Break."
School officials say they have been following guidelines from the state Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority, which recommend closing schools and campuses only if there are positive cases of COVID-19.
The best prevention is still practicing good health hygiene habits, Barry said — washing your hands frequently, covering your cough or sneeze, getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic. The best way to limit spread is staying home when ill.
"We will keep you updated with any new information as it comes out, all the while maintaining our requirements to honor everyone's right to privacy," Barry said. "We appreciate your trust in communicating with us when you hear of potential exposure so we can communicate this to proper authorities in a timely manner and take our own precautionary steps."
Barry underscored that older adults or people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.