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Portland Public Schools updates families on coronavirus and discrimination, xenophobia surrounding outbreak

The state's largest school district is focusing on preventative measures after Oregon announced its first presumptive case of coronavirus.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The state’s largest school district is focusing on preventative measures as Oregon announced its first presumptive case of COVID-19.

Portland Public Schools (PPS) said it will increase how often they are disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and sinks, as well as high-touch surfaces on buses. When needed, they said they will contact an outside firm to assist with deep-cleaning spaces.

The district said that families, students, and staff can best support these proactive efforts by washing hands frequently, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing and using hand sanitizer. Anyone experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu was encouraged to stay at home as directed by public health guidelines.


PPS also said that they are aware of Asian students who have been discriminated against in connection to the virus outbreak.

"This is unacceptable and contrary to our values of racial equity and social justice. Fear of the outbreak has fueled xenophobic remarks and behaviors in the weeks since the first case of coronavirus," the district said in a letter posted to its website.

The district said they do not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination.

"This is especially important at a time when fears about the virus can too easily foster suspicion without regard for facts," the district said.

Health officials continue to recommend people take the following precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus.

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  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.

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