Frequently Asked Questions About Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
1. What is FCCPS doing to address the recent concerns regarding novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
In coordination with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), FCCPS is closely monitoring the health crisis in China and any impact it may have locally. Currently, there are no cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Fairfax County, in Virginia or in the National Capital Region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. FCCPS will continue to work with FCHD for guidance or actions, as necessary, to address this health-related issue in our schools.
2. My child or someone in my child's school recently traveled to China. Should students or school staff with recent travel to China stay home from school?
FCCPS has worked closely with the FCHD and has received information based on updated guidance from public health officials. Public health recommendations for travelers have recently changed and guidance depends on when the travel occurred.
- Any person returning from China who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should stay home and contact their health care provider or the Fairfax County Health Department immediately.
- If the person returned from China more than 14 days ago, they are outside of the period during which they could become ill from the novel coronavirus and there are no limitations on their attending school.
- If the person returning from China arrived in the U.S. before the evening of February 2 when new travel restrictions were put in place, there are no limitations on their attending school.
- If the person returning from China arrived in the U.S. after the evening of February 2, they would be subject to new national restrictions. Persons who had traveled in Hubei province, which includes the city Wuhan, would have a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Persons who had traveled elsewhere in China and did not have direct contact with someone who has documented novel coronavirus infection, would self-quarantine and be monitored by the health department. Children in this category would be restricted from going to school for 14 days after their travel. These new restrictions reflect the continued increase in the number of novel coronavirus cases occurring in China.
3. My family traveled from China after February 2 and my child is required to self-quarantine for 14 days with monitoring by the Health Department. What should I do?
In these cases, the parent or guardian should contact the principal of the school immediately and maintain regular communication with the school throughout the duration of the absence.
4. Our family has recently traveled to China and returned to the US before the new restrictions were put in place on February 2. We decided to keep our child home from school for a period of time. What should I do?
Public Health guidance does not recommend quarantine for individuals traveling from China prior to February 2. However, FCCPS recognizes that some parents or guardians may choose to keep their child home for a period of time following travel to areas impacted by novel coronavirus. This decision is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian. Should the family elect to keep their child home, they should contact the principal of the school immediately to discuss their concerns and maintain regular communication with the school throughout the duration of the absence.
5. What about students or school staff who traveled to South Korea, Thailand, or another country where novel coronavirus cases have been identified? Can they attend school?
There are no travel restrictions from these countries and no limitation on students or staff attending school. The number of novel coronavirus infections in countries other than China remains very low.
6. What if a household member of a student or staff member recently traveled to China? Can they attend school?
If the student or staff member has not traveled to China, and their household contact who returned from China within the past 14 days has no symptoms of novel coronavirus infection (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), there are no limitations for them to attend school.
7. Will FCCPS be monitoring students or staff who have traveled to China and are allowed to attend school?
FCCPS is aware that the CDC and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have implemented enhanced health screenings (effective February 2, 2020); however, FCCPS does not screen or monitor students or staff who have traveled internationally. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, FCCPS will continue to work closely with the FCHD for guidance.
8. Is my child at risk? What can I do to keep my child safe at school?
The risk of novel coronavirus infection for students and for the U.S. population, in general, is considered by the CDC to be low. Specific questions may be directed to the Communicable Disease Nurse at the FCHD during business hours. The phone number is 703-267-3511.
During the winter season, many other viruses that cause respiratory illness, such as flu, are common. Precautions that are recommended for avoiding colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses include good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene: covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick.
9. Who do I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions about your child's attendance at school, please contact the school directly.
If parents or guardians have questions about the novel coronavirus illness or symptoms, or how to prevent respiratory infection, we encourage them to talk with a Communicable Disease Nurse at the Fairfax County Health Department during business hours. The phone number is 703-267-3511.