October 20, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The Peabody Health Department and Peabody Public Schools are closely monitoring reports of Ebola Virus Disease, and the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the risk of Ebola in the United States is extremely low, we want to provide you with information to help you understand the risks and the precautions that are in place to help protect you and your family.
Travelers entering the US from West African countries where Ebola is epidemic are screened for symptoms at the major airports. Any individuals suspected to be ill with Ebola are reported to state and local health authorities. Health authorities follow protocols which allow them to isolate and quarantine sick individuals and their contacts (other people who are not sick, but have been in contact with a sick individual) – meaning that they can be restricted to their homes or other locations so that they can’t infect other people. Public health nurses in the Peabody schools will begin using a risk assessment form developed by MDPH to screen any students or staff returning to school from an affected area or with symptoms consistent with Ebola. Peabody school custodial staff will be enhancing cleaning procedures within the school environment.
Please remember that coming into casual contact with people who do not have symptoms of Ebola poses no risk, even if they have recently traveled to affected countries in Africa.
For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola, the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/ebola, the Peabody Health Department website at www.peabody-ma.gov, the Peabody Public Schools website at www.peabody.k12.ma.us, or contact the Peabody Health Department at 978-538-5926.
We encourage everyone to get a flu shot to help stay healthy this season. We would also like to remind you about the importance of routine handwashing, especially before meals. Handwashing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself from illness caused by viruses and bacteria.
We will continue to provide links to the most current information about Ebola through our websites, but please be in touch if you have questions or concerns.
Director of Health and Human Services
City of Peabody
Peabody Public Schools