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Kingman schools, athletic teams practicing safe hygiene to avoid coronavirus

Susan Chan, executive director at the Kingman Academy of Learning, said her students are following safe hygiene to help stave off the coronavirus. (Miner file photo)

Susan Chan, executive director at the Kingman Academy of Learning, said her students are following safe hygiene to help stave off the coronavirus. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – The coronavirus (COVID-19) has yet to directly affect Kingman-area schools, but they are on high alert to ensure it doesn’t become an issue. That starts with safe hygiene and Susan Chan, Kingman Academy of Learning’s executive director, is making sure that happens throughout the district.

“We’re taking precautions as we would with any type of virus, like when the flu comes around,” Chan said. “It’s just extra duty cleaning and sanitizing the surfaces that children touch. We’re going to take extra time disinfecting the tables, the door knobs and everything in the bathrooms that the kids touch. And we’re also going to be encouraging the children to wash their hands really good.”

Meanwhile, Kingman Unified School District posted a letter to their website and Facebook page with updates on coronavirus and how the top priority is the health and safety of students and staff.

“Kingman Unified School District, in partnership with local health agencies, is working to ensure our schools are safe for students and staff and what to do should this health crisis escalate in our community,” the letter stated in the opening paragraph.

KUSD also advises staying home if you are sick, but that issue won’t present itself until March 23 when students return from spring intercession. Nevertheless, the letter also focuses on good hygiene, which includes washing your hands in water for 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Kingman Academy is also following the same guidelines, but there is always a chance for sick students with school in session.

“We need to try and keep it at bay from our schools,” Chan said. “And if kids are running fevers, we’re going to send them home. Staff as well. Teachers don’t like to miss school. It’s a lot of work when they miss school. So if they’re sick, we’re just going to send them home.”

And if the worst-case scenario happens and coronavirus strikes Kingman, the administration will do what’s necessary.

“We have to follow the health department and department of education guidelines,” Chan said. “If they say ‘you close,’ you close. Because the health department is the one watching (the virus), they’re the ones that are educated in that area. So I have to trust their expertise to say when we are in a bad situation.”

There is also another issue as coronavirus could affect high school athletic teams, but this time of year has one advantage compared to other sports seasons.

“For us, everything is outside in the spring with baseball, softball, tennis and track,” said Kingman High School Athletic Director John Venenga. “There can be a lot of people here, but you just have to be smart – wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and you should be OK.”

That will be the case for all three area high schools as of now, but more will be known when the Arizona Interscholastic Association holds an executive board meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, March 16.

“We have contacted AIA and they actually have it on their agenda for the executive board meeting next week,” Chan said. “Just to figure it out what we should do, because by the time a teammate is discovered to have the virus, it’s too late. Everybody has been exposed. I would not think it was right for us to continue to be in touch with people.”

But at the end of the day, the key is to not overreact to the coronavirus.

“We’re telling our people, ‘Don’t panic. We’re not going to panic, but these are the things that we’re going to do,’” Chan said.

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