Dear Albuquerque Academy community,
With the severity of the influenza season and outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to reassure our community that Albuquerque Academy has been closely monitoring this evolving and fluid situation to ensure community safety and health. We are monitoring this situation with communication and guidance from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Health officials believe the risk to our school community is low at this time. To date, NMDOH has monitored about 30 travelers returning from China, and none have developed symptoms of COVID-19. There have been no documented confirmed cases in New Mexico. As the CDC has affirmed, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading across a large region, and the number of cases across the U.S. is still low. While we are still learning about COVID-19, it has been evaluated to have a high recovery rate. Older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.
Signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The influenza also presents with similar symptoms but is caused by a different virus. According to the DOH, influenza is currently widespread in New Mexico and most of the United States. The DOH also asserts that the influenza remains a higher risk to our community.
What you should do to stay healthy and prevent disease:
- CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. Other destinations with risk of community spread of COVID-19 include Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
- The NMDOH continues to ask all persons returning from travel to these areas to call their 24/7/365 “Epidemiology Hotline” at (505) 827-0006 for guidance on how to protect yourself and your community from the novel coronavirus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick. Academy faculty are prepared to help support students who have been out of school due to illness. Students need to stay home and will be sent home from our health office with the following conditions:
- Active vomiting or diarrhea – need to stay home 24 hours symptom-free
- Fever/chills/generalized body aches – need to stay home 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications
- The first 24 hours of various antibiotic treatments (e.g. strep throat, pink eye, etc.)
- Undiagnosed, new, and/or untreated rash or skin condition until treated
- Cough into elbows, or tissue if using hands and throw tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- The use of face masks for general prevention is not recommended, unless directed by a healthcare provider. Recommendations state that proper hand-washing technique provides better protection from infectious diseases.
What we have done:
- Canceled our two spring break exchange trips to Ecuador and Germany, both places where there are confirmed cases of the virus
- Fostered ongoing communication and collaboration with our Department of Health liaison regarding metro- and statewide disease trends and prevention
- Displayed new CDC posters around campus regarding respiratory hygiene technique and promoting hand washing
- Will be installing more than 70 new hand sanitizer dispensing units
We also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Albuquerque Academy is committed to protecting every person’s rights. Programs, activities, practices, and employment shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, or where they have traveled.
We will continue to communicate updates, as necessary, for the safety and well-being of our community.