March 3, 2020
Dear Families of Baldwin-Whitehall School District,
I want to share some important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the ways our District is staying up-to-date on all relevant news regarding this health concern.
We follow the guidance of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the Allegheny County Health Department, as of this time, there are currently no reported cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania. However, the ACHD is actively monitoring the situation and will issue any recommendations regarding school closures or other public health directives if that news should change.
The ACHD and CDC have also shared very practical advice to help minimize the coronavirus's potential to spread:
●Wash your hands often, with soap, for a minimum of 20 seconds — that's the length of the "Happy Birthday" song, sung twice in a row
●Avoid touching your face — especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
●If you are sick, stay home — do not return to school until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medication
●Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough — this helps reduce the spread of airborne water droplets which could infect others
Please note that this advice is not just helpful to avoid the coronavirus. This is the same advice that we should all be following every winter in order to reduce the spread of the common flu and other viruses.
If your child does have the flu, please keep them home and inform their school nurse. This will help us stay aware of any potential for infection, and take any precautionary measures. If our District does encounter any coronavirus cases, we will follow best practices from the CDC, the PA Department of Health, and the Allegheny County Health Department.
Lastly, if you think you or someone you know may have the coronavirus, the County has advised that you NOT go to the emergency room. Doing so would only increase the likelihood that the virus could spread. Instead, follow the official testing process:
●First, call your healthcare provider (your family doctor or medical center)
●Your health provider must notify the Allegheny County Health Department
●ACHD will determine the course of action with the PA Department of Health for testing
Finally, please remember that misinformation spreads even faster than the flu. To make sure that you're getting information from reputable sources, please follow these official links:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Allegheny County Health Department:
The safety of our students and staff in our schools, as well as the well-being of the families in our communities, is always our top concern. We will continue to monitor this situation and update you with any additional information or directions as needed. As we do, we ask that you keep lines of communication open with your points of contact at your child's school – your teachers, your school nurse and your principals.
At a time like this, I know that the constant flow of new headlines and new details can feel very stressful. I hope it helps you to realize that by taking these practical and approved precautions, you can do your part to help reduce the risk — not just for yourself, but for everyone you know.
The coronavirus itself may be a new healthcare challenge, and it is certainly one that we are all taking seriously. But in times of uncertainty, the best advice is timeless: remain calm, take care of yourself and your loved ones, think rationally, and act responsibly.
Dr. Randal A. Lutz
Superintendent of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District