Health Update on the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout China, we want to inform our families, teachers, and staff that we are monitoring the situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and state and local health partners, are working together to make the public aware of this global issue and developing guidelines for prevention and treatment.

What is the coronavirus?
It is part of a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The novel (new) coronavirus was first linked to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. 

How is it transmitted?
The source of the virus is currently unknown, but the CDC says the person-to-person spread has mainly occurred by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

What are the symptoms? 
Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The CDC says symptoms may appear between 2-14 days after exposure.

What are the risks to the public?
The CDC considers this a very serious public health threat. The immediate health risk from novel coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time.

Prevention guidelines:

  • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Cover your nose and mouth – with a tissue or flexed elbow – when coughing and sneezing 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • Avoid unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals
  • Avoid all non-essential travel to China

Considering the severity of this virus, and in our critical efforts to maintain the health of our learning community members, our school medical staff will be closely tracking student and faculty health and will alert parents if their child exhibits any of the symptoms associated with the new coronavirus strain. 

For more information, please visit the CDC, WHO, as well as the NJ Department of Health websites.

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