I am writing to update you regarding the coronavirus in the context of our school.
As you probably know, Chinese authorities recently identified a novel (new) coronavirus (named “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Over the past week, the virus has spread rapidly rising from 4,400 to more than 20,000 confirmed cases in China. Outside of mainland China, nine countries or regions are reporting cases and the U.S. has about 11 cases confirmed, including one in California.
Our primary concern is always the safety and well-being of our students. As with all issues of public health, to assess this epidemic with care and caution, we refer to trusted sources of guidance and implement sensible and effective safety precautions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is closely monitoring the outbreak also recommends the following common-sense precautions to avoid the spread of this infectious disease:
- Stay home when you are sick, and wait 24 hours once fever has ended before sending your child back to school
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Teach and encourage proper cough etiquette – cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve or arm (not hands)
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
These recommendations are similar to the ones shared to avoid any similar respiratory virus such as the flu virus that is also very active this time of the year. In comparison, 15 million people have gotten sick with the flu so far.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to these viruses, making these precautionary measures all the more important. They are posted and reviewed on a daily basis by teachers and staff who are urging students to wash their hands, especially before eating.
Our cleaning team uses a hospital-grade disinfectant on surfaces, and is taking particular care with hard surfaces such as tables, light switches, and door knobs.
Although no travel ban has yet been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), we decided to cancel our Global Leaning trip to China last week. Should other steps be recommended for any of our other trips, we will let you know.
This is an evolving situation and we remain watchful and we will follow up with you as needed as we learn more.
Thank you for your cooperation in supporting our efforts on this subject at home, by discussing with your child(ren) the value of prevention.
Emmanuel TEXIER, Head of School