• Frequently Asked Questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    What is the Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus?

    The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports several cases in the United States, and no cases in Texas (as of Feb. 28, 2020).

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

    How is the COVID-19 virus spread?

    According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 belongs to a family of viruses called “coronavirus.” There are other viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals These viruses can cause either mild illness like a cold or can make people very sick with pneumonia. This particular coronavirus has not been seen previously in humans. The virus is likely to be spread from person to person: 1. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and, 2. Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Since the virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.

    How will I know if I or my children have the flu or COVID-19?

    While both these illnesses are respiratory viruses with symptoms of fever and a cough, it is recommended that anyone experiencing these symptoms visit a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

    What can I do to prevent being infected or spreading the virus?

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a covered trashcan.
    • If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    Is there a vaccine?

    There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

    What are some other sources of information and updates?

    The following resources are available to help the public stay informed about COVID-19.

    • Cameron County Health and Human Services - https://www.cameroncounty.us/publichealth/
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/COVID19
    • Texas Department of State Health Services – www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
    • Harlingen CISD school nurses and the district’s Health Services Department are also trusted sources of information.

    Should I or my children wear masks?
    The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

    What is the district doing to protect students and staff?
    In addition to having already installed hand sanitizers at high traffic areas such as hallways, outside the restrooms, band halls, gyms, cafeterias, and office areas, our school district has implemented the following:

    • Campuses are:

    • making daily announcements reminding students to wash their hands using soap for at least 20 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" song 2 times)
    • scheduling hand-washing times
    • reminding students not to touch their face, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands.
    • reminding everyone to cover their mouth with their elbow when coughing or sneezing.
    • reminding everyone to fist bump instead of giving hand-shakes/high-fives.
    • evaluating students complaining of sore throats/sniffles/coughs by sending students to the nurse's office and then home until cleared by a physician
    • reminding everyone to stay at home when sick with temperatures of 100 or above.

    • Maintenance Department is:

    • cleaning and disinfecting desks, doorknobs, walls, etc., and areas frequently touched. o disinfecting bathrooms.
    • disinfecting school buses (seats and handrails).

    • Cafeteria Department is:

    • using meal strikeout sheets so students do not use the touchpad or cafeteria ID card for lunch purposes.
    • disinfecting cafeteria tables and kitchen lunch rails. o using Lysol in between lunches.