Community Letter and Health Information About the Ebola Virus
To the HEB ISD Community,
We have all seen the nationwide media coverage of the Ebola virus in Dallas County. There is a lot of information to process and it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction and to know what is accurate and applicable to our own families.
Because the safety and security of students and staff is our top priority in the Hurst-Euless- Bedford ISD, we hope to address questions and concerns you may have regarding this important health concern.
While there are absolutely no confirmed or even suspected cases of the Ebola virus in HEB ISD, we know that as parents, employees, and community members, many of you have questions or may be wondering about our school district’s infectious disease protocols.
The national health concerns brought about by the Ebola virus remind us all that these are uncertain times. It is important, however, that we concentrate on the facts and we remember the important role personal hygiene and simple hand-washing can play in helping prevent the spread of diseases.
This is the case when talking about Ebola or more common diseases like flu, pertussis (whooping cough), or enterovirus D68. This particular virus has caused significant upper respiratory symptoms in children throughout the Midwestern states. Tarrant County Health Department officials have encouraged public school districts to continue to enforce existing protocols that are used in handling flu epidemics.
HEB ISD is in regular contact with regional health officials about ways to manage and care for students who become ill. We have a Coordinator of Health Services who oversees our nurses. There are registered nurses on each campus who follow protocols and precautions when dealing with infectious or contagious diseases. Our clinics are equipped with gloves, masks, and supplies to monitor student temperatures and document symptoms. Emergency contact information is kept for each child, and students running fevers are isolated from other students/adults to the extent possible until the child can be picked up by their parents or guardians. HEB ISD regularly monitors student attendance and absenteeism and maintains patient confidentiality according to the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) at all times.
We encourage parents to consult with their own family physician or healthcare professional when students begin showing flu-like or viral symptoms. HEB ISD also has two JPS Healthcare clinics, located by Central Junior High School, where HEB ISD families have access to healthcare at very low costs.
One of the most important ways our parents can help prevent the spread of any infectious disease is to encourage routine hand-washing and talk to children about NOT sharing water bottles or drinking glasses with others. Please, make sure your child is fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing agents (such as Tylenol) before sending your child back to school after an illness. This is not a new policy. It is HEB ISD’s standard operating protocol when a child or adult employee begins to run a fever. Please, report your child’s illness to the school nurse as soon as possible.
Our goal is to keep you informed and to update you regularly as health situations unfold. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Steven A. Chapman
Superintendent of Schools