The COVID-19 coronavirus has crossed the threshold of over 90,000 cases confirmed worldwide. It is a growing epidemic that is leaving many shocked at how fast this deadly virus has spread over the last few months.
While everyone remains cautious, the worst thing anyone can do is panic. School leaders are bracing themselves as they plan for a worst-case scenario and closing down the schools in the districts where more cases are turning up.
The question remains, as the confirmed cases stay at a low number in America, are we doing enough? As the school districts in the state of Washington and some states which border Washington are shutting down and looking into online courses for the students.
Other schools around the country are just telling everyone to continuously wash their hands, stay home for those who are ill, and using simple practices of covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing in a tissue or sleeve.
Parents are becoming on edge as the virus is spreading, but health advisers are working with school districts around the country.
In the state of Washington, the death toll has reached six as of this week, and new cases have popped up in Illinois, California, New York, Rhode Island, and Florida. This is a small number compared to China, but the media is neglecting the real news more people have died from influenza in America than the coronavirus.
The biggest issue with schools is no one really knows how far this virus will spread in America. Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, stated, “Everybody is in a state of alert.”
It seems just getting the word out to school superintendents to spread the word to parents and informing every step of the way is working to keep everyone calm. Experts are saying “when” not “if,” but the reality still remains “if it spreads.” Democrats and the media are fueling the fire in this situation.
Domenech said in an interview, “There’s no soft-selling this. Last week I saw some districts had sent out messages to families that were pretty mild like, there’s not much to be concerned about, this may not happen. That’s not happening anymore. Now it’s absolutely something to worry about, and it’s absolutely going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.”
Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses, responded by saying in the US, the coronavirus is not a pandemic yet. What they are watching is how it spreads, and health officials are taking the proper precautions to contain the spread. She stated, “That is the key: How to prepare without panicking.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) sent out guidance to all daycares and schools, and they are requesting not to shut down in a state of panic. All they have to do is follow the guidelines sent to them. They are, however, calling to review attendance policies and dropping perfect attendance awards. They rather everyone who is ill to stay home.
Schools within the districts where the virus is detected should get with their health officials before drastically canceling classes. Keeping the line of communication open will give an idea of how long schools should close if they must. The options of homeschooling and online schools are in the near future to keep the children from falling behind in their courses.
Some of the school districts in Washington and northern Idaho have closed until further notice. Those who were tested for coronavirus will get the results back shortly, and the school districts can also make a decision as needed. No one in Idaho was confirmed to have the virus, but it just shows the fear and precautions which are being taken.
Shihadeh, who works for the school security company Raptor Technologies said, “As the worst-case scenarios are kicking in, especially with the CDC talking about the spread in the U.S. being inevitable, all of us (parents) are thinking about what we’re going to do.”
Some schools in California are advising any student who traveled to China to stay at home for 14 days. Pamela Kahn, president of the California School Nurses Organization, stated, “In my head and in my heart, I don’t think this virus is hitting kids, but I wouldn’t be blasé and tell parents not to worry.”
In Florida and other private schools, K-12 online courses are being taken seriously, and they are ready to shut down schools as well.