Coronavirus Threat Mounts | School District Prepares for Possible Impacts

South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz said the South Pasadena Unified School District staff has actively reviewed the district’s Joint Emergency Operations Plan in order to be prepared should the situation in the local community change and the Public Health Department order school to implement regulations designed to combat this disease or school closures


As the numbers grow, so do the concerns.

“As you know, the Center for Disease Control is closely monitoring an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called COVID-19,” South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz wrote in letter to parents and community members on Wednesday in face of the deadly disease.

The outbreak, pointed out Yantz in his correspondence, first started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including America.

“The United States recently repatriated 43 persons from abroad who were confirmed as having tested positive for the disease, and who will be in quarantine during the entire length of their illness/infection,” wrote the superintendent. “This increased the number of cases in the United States from 14 to 57, but this number does not represent any new cases of community transmission in the United States; all of these patients have been in quarantine.”

Yantz said the South Pasadena Unified School District staff has actively reviewed the district’s Joint Emergency Operations Plan, “in particular the section which covers public health emergencies and pandemics, in order to be prepared should the situation in our community change and the Public Health Department order school districts in our county to implement regulations designed to combat this disease or school closures,” he detailed in his letter.

Los Angeles County has no new cases at this time, noted Yantz.

“The only case that was identified in LA County occurred in a traveler from Wuhan, China, some weeks ago,” he wrote, stressing, “Please be assured that no students in our schools or members of our community have been identified as having been infected.”

Added Yantz: “For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

However, as you may have heard from news reports, and from a recent CDC press release, that it is likely that more cases will be identified in the coming days.”

The CDC states, “It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States.”

Yantz urges residents to consult the CDC website for their most up to date information. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html).

Should the disease spread in the local community, Yantz said SPUSD will follow all public health orders “and inform you immediately of policies that will be implemented,” he wrote in his message.

Influenza or the “flu,” along with and other respiratory infections, explained Yantz “are present in our community and are being transmitted from person to person,” he wrote. “Therefore, it is important to review the following in order to know when to keep your sick child at home.”

Yantz reminded parents to keep children at home if the develop any of the following symptoms:

  • A temperature measured orally at or above 100;
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea;
  • Flu symptoms such as body aches, fever, headaches, or a sore throat;
  • Undiagnosed skin conditions that may be contagious;
  • Keep your child home until all symptoms of illness have subsided for 24 hours.

“If your child has a fever, he/she should not return to school until he/she has been fever-free without fever reducing medications for 24 hours,” insisted Yantz. “We all agree that it is important that students attend school on a regular basis. However, when children are ill, their needs are best met by being taken care of at home until they feel well enough to be back in school.”

Those with questions are asked to contact the District Nurse, Alexandra Platz, at (626) 441-5830, extension 3917.