Part of being a global community today means getting to share the worry of international financial meltdowns, pandemics and “games without frontiers”.
Today, the name of one of these threats has entered our lexicon- COVID-19
The level at which our School community will be affected by the current threat of the COVID-19 virus remains unknown.
Last week we released the first of what will be a number of information packages in regard to our response to this potential threat to the health of our community.
As a school that takes our duty of care to our students seriously, we can assure our families that we are making plans for a range of different scenarios – scenarios that may or may not happen.
In the face of a sometimes hysterical response to the virus (toilet paper hoarding?), let me reassure our community of a few things:
- We will take actions based on the very best medical advice, not the opinions expressed by keyboard warriors or shock-jock radio announcers.
- We have already developed, and will continue to develop as situations evolve, a series of plans for dealing with a range of responses if any contact with the virus has an impact on our School. This includes looking at how we might adapt our teaching and learning in a situation that requires individual or group isolation or even a school closure.
- We are assessing School events off-campus that might place our students and staff at risk and making plans to adapt, postpone or cancel. We are looking at where our students might be going and the risks inherent in attending an excursion, sporting or cultural event. We are also in contact with venues and organisers so as to be informed of cancellations etc. that have an impact on our calendar.
- We will work to ensure that our students and their families are given accurate information that reflects the reality of any threat and our planned responses. We will let our community know of any of our decisions in a timely and coordinated fashion.
We know how ”information” and “facts” can be misleading and add unnecessarily to anxiety in the community.
For example: The virus and its impact is a worry but….
From Facebook: March 10, 12.32 p.m
“Any truth to the rumour that SCAS kids have tested positive to coronavirus?”
From BBC News:
As scientists work hard to track and contain the coronavirus outbreak, misleading information about the global spread of the virus continues to flourish on the internet. Here’s how a decade-old map showing global air travel was used incorrectly by news websites across the world, leading to headlines such as “New map reveals no country safe from coronavirus tentacles” and “Terrifying map reveals how thousands of Wuhan travellers could have spread coronavirus to 400 cities worldwide.”
How worried should we be? Here are some thoughts from the experts in the field:
- “The one thing we really don’t need is mass hysteria. Eighty percent of people have such minor symptoms, they don’t actually require any medical care at all. The 20 percent who do feel quite ill need to be evaluated, and some of them will require hospitalization and some of them will require intensive care.” Dr. Robert Murphy, Executive Director of the Institute for Global Health at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an infectious diseases professor.
- “The vast majority of cases are going to be mild, and people are going to recover just like they do from a cold or flu-like illness.” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
No matter which version of the “truth” turns out to be accurate, we will do our best to be ready!
Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School