March 03, 2020


Dear Parent/Guardian,

Cold and Flu season is upon us. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

While most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Although there have been reported cases of novel coronavirus globally, to date, there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Iowa. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low; however, it is expected that COVID-19 cases will eventually be confirmed in Iowa.

It is important to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way you would prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt your normal routine.

Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? These are all questions to think about.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. Symptoms of influenza can vary, but generally include a high fever, headache, chills, body aches, sore throat, and cough. 

Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with reports of illness and death in other countries. It is important to understand the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these tips to prevent influenza:

  • Get vaccinated every year 
  • Avoid close contact with sick people 
  • Frequent handwashing with soap 
  • Stay at home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional. 

See more prevention tips from the CDC.

As a reminder, please do not send your child to school if they are feeling sick. Keeping your sick child home will be a great benefit for the health and wellness of our students and staff.  The CDC has said the current risk of local transmission is low. 

The West Harrison Community School District will continue to monitor the situation and obtain updates from the Iowa Department of Public Health and local health officials about the diagnosis and management of cases of novel coronavirus, as applicable.

If you have questions about these topics, please contact your child’s health office for any further questions.  We thank you for your cooperation and support. 



Deb Evans, RN, BS

West Harrison Community School Nurse