Frequently Asked Questions about the Coronavirus



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.


What is the district doing to protect students and staff?


Harlingen CISD is following the guidance of the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services, which is working closely with the CDC, local governments, and health care providers to prepare for and respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Harlingen CISD Health Services has issued guidance for school nurses to use in identifying and assessing the health status of students or staff who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.


What will the district do if someone at a school or office is diagnosed with COVID-19?


If both exposure and symptoms of fever or respiratory illness are present, nurses are instructed to inform the principal, isolate the individual, and contact Harlingen CISD Health Services for additional guidance.

Where necessary, cleaning and disinfection will take place in accordance with Department of Environmental Health Services Standard Operation Procedures and Cameron County Health and Human Services recommendations.


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 wear 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).


Will schools be closed if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Harlingen?


District leadership has opted to close schools to control the spread of COVID-19. Harlingen CISD activated Level 3 of the response plan and suspended school until further notice. A case of travel-related coronavirus confirmed in Cameron County on March 19, 2020. Harlingen CISD will continue to monitor the progress of the illness and communicate school closures with parents and staff on an ongoing basis. 


What is being done to keep schools clean and protect students?


Custodial staff will perform extra cleaning of schools and district offices, and school bus drivers have been asked to clean bus interiors. Our teachers, school nurses, and staff will be working carefully to encourage simple and effective habits of frequent handwashing, covering every cough or sneeze, and cleanng classroom tables/surfaces frequently. Counselors will be prepared to conduct guidance lessons with students, and information will be shared with school staffs on how to speak to students about the disease.


For questions please email us at Covid@hcisd.org