Dear Parents and Guardians:

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recently issued an advisory regarding the signs and symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68, a serious respiratory illness that has been confirmed in a number of children throughout the State.

This virus can cause severe respiratory illness in children, especially those with asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, sometimes resulting in hospitalization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), school-age children are most likely to get infected with such enteroviruses and become ill because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to these viruses.

The EV-D68 virus is transmitted through close contact with a person who is already infected, and/or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching one's mouth, nose, or eyes. There is no specific treatment or anti-viral medications available. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches. Most infected persons have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious.

The safety of our students and staff is always our primary concern. Our custodial staff members are maintaining a heightened sense of vigilance in the cleaning and sanitizing of the schools. All hard surfaces, including desks, tables, chairs, doors, door knobs, and bathroom surfaces are cleaned on a daily basis using an approved, highly effective germicide that kills viruses and bacteria.

You can protect yourself and your family from respiratory illnesses like EV-D68 by following these steps:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
* Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, often.
* Cough and sneeze into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.
* Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.

If your child is sick with a fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, mouth blisters, a skin rash, and body aches, which are signs of an upper respiratory infection, do not send your child to school and contact your medical provider promptly.

Our school nurses are available to answer any questions and to assist our students, staff, and families.

Yours truly,
Mary T. Kelly
Dr. Mary T. Kelly
Superintendent of Schools