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In Our Schools Today

Ebola Virus Information

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) are working together to provide you with the most up-to-date information on Ebola. There have been no cases of Ebola in children in the United States, and the risk of DOE students and staff being exposed to Ebola is extremely low.

Important facts

  • Ebola is spread only by direct personal contact with the body fluids (such as blood, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with the Ebola virus. Symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding. However, any of these symptoms, even in a person who has traveled to the affected areas, is most likely due to a more common infectious illness like the flu.
  • You cannot be infected simply by being near someone who has Ebola. Ebola is not airborne. Ebola is not circulating in New York City.
  • Widespread transmission of Ebola virus is occurring in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. There also is limited transmission in Mali and Bamako, Kayes, and Kouremale are also considered affected areas.
  • All returning travelers from Ebola-affected areas are routed through five US airports where they are screened and reported to the DOHMH, which monitors them for 21 days.
  • If, within 21 days of returning from an area affected by the outbreak, a student or staff member has a fever or another early symptom of Ebola while not on school premises, he or she should not come to school (per DOHMH instructions) and should call 911 immediately, describing his or her symptoms and travel history. Health care will be provided throughout New York City with no questions asked about immigration status and regardless of the individual's ability to pay.
  • If it has been more than 21 days since a student or staff member traveled to Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Mali, or had contact with someone sick with Ebola, he or she is not at risk.
  • If someone has recovered from Ebola, he or she is no longer contagious and cannot spread Ebola.

New York City is collaborating closely with its state and federal partners to protect New Yorkers. The risk of infection in New York is very small, and we hope this information will ease any concerns that you might have:

  • Detailed guidance for schools is provided in this letter to school leaders.
  • All school nurses and all medical providers in New York City have been prepared by the DOHMH to look for signs of Ebola and take immediate steps to respond and isolate people who may be infected.
  • Please visit the DOH website, call 311, or talk to your school nurse for accurate updates about Ebola.

More Information