While it seems that last winter was one for the books with regard to snow and ice, this winter seems to be shaping up to become the winter of illness. It began with a pretty rough flu season (which isn't over yet) and now the talk of the town is COVID 19 or the coronavirus as it's commonly referred to.
I know most of us are getting inundated with communications regarding this issue. Indeed, Benzie Central has sent out a communication in collaboration with our region last Friday. We have since gotten communications from the State of Michigan, and our federal government is giving updates through our media outlets as well.
So the question on everyone's mind seems to be - what do we do should the outbreak become more severe?
Our school district has been focusing on being proactive through prevention and education. As is always the case during flu season, the best approach is prevention through good hygiene habits. We encourage all students and staff to engage in frequent handwashing, to cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and to minimize contact, especially in public places. If you are ill, please stay home and rest returning when you are free from fever for at least 24 hours.
In addition, we have been engaging in discussions about contingency plans in the unlikely event where longer term closures are necessary. The good news is that we have some tools at our disposal that could help maintain education using online tools that are relatively simple to use. Indeed, many of our staff already have "online classrooms" and some students are already engaged in learning in a virtual environment. Should an extended closure of "brick and mortar" buildings ever become necessary, we could potentially have some options to keep learning from grinding to a halt.
Benzie's bottom line is learning. It's what we are committed to and what we will always strive to keep going, regardless of circumstances.
Be well, be healthy, and thanks for reading!