Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs


Q:  What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
A:  Coronaviruses are a new group of respiratory viruses not previously seen in humans.  The severity of illness ranges from mild to severe, and is spread through droplets from an infected person.  The following fact sheets from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contain more information:

2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (English)
2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Spanish)
2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Traditional Chinese)
2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Portuguese)
2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Haitian-Creole)
2019 Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Vietnamese)

Q:  Where can I get the latest information?
A:  The following websites have the most current information on COVID-19 and we are monitoring them daily:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019
Town of Needham Public Health

If you would like to contact the Public Health Nurse directly, email   If you need to call (email is preferable), call 781-455-7934 and leave a message.

Q:  Who can I call with questions?
A.  Needham Public Schools is fortunate to have a highly skilled nursing staff who is available to answer your questions and concerns.


Q:  What are some community resources to support my family's physical and mental health during this crisis?
A:  Below is a list of community resources to assist your family:
9-1-1 Emergency Response

Information on State's 2-1-1 System

Needham Public Health Department

Needham Youth and Families

Needham Community Council Food Pantry

 781-444-2415 x1050
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham Emergency Room

Newton-Wellesley Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine

Riverside Community Care Emergency Services

Samaritans Mental Health Hotline

 877-870-4673 (text or call 24/7)
SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

CDC on Coronavirus-Reducing Stigma


Q:  What are some resources that are available on how I can talk to my children about COVID-19?
A:  The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) has provided the following tips on how to talk to your child about COVID-19:

NASP NASN COVID-19 Parent Handout
NASP NASN COVID-19 Parent Handout (Spanish)

Q:  What can I do to help our community:
A:  Here are a few suggestions:

* Practice illness prevention measures as stated above. 
* Stay home when you are sick and keep your child home if they aren't feeling well.
Stay informed using reliable sources (as listed above).
Join the Needham Medical Reserve Corps.
Sign up for Alert Needham for emergency updates at, or text "needham" 67283 to receive alerts by text.
Maintain confidentiality of students and families.
If you or your family member has a medical emergency and has been under quarantine for suspicion of COVID-19, let the dispatcher know so that our emergency first responders can take appropriate precautions.


Q:  How are decisions made regarding who should stay home for 14 days?
A:  It's important to note that not everyone has the same level of risk, and district decisions are made based on individualized information we receive in addition to consultation with our Public Health Department, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and CDC guidelines.

Q:  What are the schools doing to help prevent the spread of germs?
A:  School nurses are educating students on illness prevention measures both in classrooms and on an individual basis.  In addition, nurses are asking students to wash hands upon entering health offices, conducting illness and absenteeism surveillance, communicating with NPHD and building administrators.  The facilities department is cleaning school buildings thoroughly each evening, and as needed to disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g.,  door knobs).  Schools are receiving additional cleaning supplies.  Bus and van drivers are doing additional wipe down of seats.  School staff are working with students to reinforce illness prevention measures, including opportunities for hand washing, and school staff are working together to promote illness prevention and healthy habits.

Q:  Does Needham Public Schools have a plan if COVID-19 is confirmed in our community?
A:  Needham Public Schools has an Emergency Operating Plan and will continue to work with town departments, NPHD and MDPH to update and respond to the latest information.  Staff are developing a plan for teaching/learning in an online environment should it become necessary.

Q:  How are the schools staying informed?
A:  The Superintendent, Director of School Health Services, and School Nurses are in frequent communication with the Public Health Department and School Physician, and are monitoring guidance set forth by CDC and MDPH.

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