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What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19? 

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

How COVID-19 Spreads

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Spread due to surface or object contact

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spread.

Protect yourself and others

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread.

Fact Sheet for COVID-19 Testing

This document contains information related to what COVID-19 is, why you should consider being tested, what test results mean, and how you will be notified of test results.


Guidance for self-quarantine

If you have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, your medical provider will recommend that you home quarantine. Per ADH guidelines, You must remain home for 14 days after you had last contact with that person who tested positive or left that country to prevent the spread of the virus. Self quarantine will protect your family and community.

Self home quarantine means: 

  • Remain at home and avoid all public activities. This means do not go to work, church, school, stores (including grocery stores), nor any public events or places.
  • Do not have visitors in your home.
  • If you live in a home with other people, stay in a separate room. If that is not possible, wear a face mask when you are in the same room and stay at least 6 feet away from them (i.e. practice social distancing even in your home).
  • Wash your hands and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Do not share personal items such as dishes, cups, forks, spoons, towels, etc.
  • Do not leave your home except to get urgent or emergency  medical care. If you need to see a doctor for reasons other than a medical emergency, please call  your medical provider ahead of time to make proper arrangements.
  • In the event of a medical emergency, call 911. Tell them that you are in home quarantine due to possible novel coronavirus exposure. Keep a face mask on until a health care provider asks you to remove it. If you do not have a mask, use a kerchief or other similar device to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Do not use any public transportation (buses, taxis, rideshare services, or airplane).
  • Check yourself for fever twice a day. This means taking your temperature in the morning and before bed at night. Write it down on a piece of paper. Your doctor will need this information to determine when you are able to resume normal activities or if you need additional care.

If you begin to have symptoms such as fever, cough, or trouble breathing, or if you otherwise feel sick, contact your health provider.