People in Toronto are worried schools may be a breeding ground for coronavirus
With two presumptive cases of the new novel coronavirus now confirmed in Toronto, residents are getting progressively more concerned about the disease's spread in the city.
Many, including schools in the GTA, have been taking their own precautions beyond what is currently recommended by health officials.
Though the Toronto District School Board recently provided a release from the City of Toronto to reassure the school community that the risk of catching the virus in Canada is low, many parents and staff are still apparently very much on edge.
should we cancel school for a bit because of the virus? This is to be extra cautious so it won't spread as fast as it did in china. Most students will not be careful about the virus so if one student has the virus it could spread thought out the school pretty fast.— kelly (@kelly24164328) January 26, 2020
Some families are demanding that the city's schools take some type of action, with parents taking to social media to call for everything from implementing mandatory preventive measures like face masks and hand sanitizer to shutting down schools completely for a week or "until [coronavirus] is over."
My daughter has friends traveling from china for the new year. Wondering what actions tdsb is planning to prevent risk of spreading? #tdsb #coronavirus— Talyaa Vardar (@talyaavardar) January 26, 2020
Paranoid parents in York Region are also urging their school board to exercise greater caution regarding the virus, even launching a petition for school officials to track the status of students who've recently visited China and force them to stay home "for a minimum of 17 days for the purpose of self-quarantine," among other things.
The petition has been signed by more than 8,000 parents of students at 145 schools in the GTA as of Monday afternoon.
TDSB must identify any of the students or their immediate family members have traveled to China in the past weeks or will come back from China, especially Wuhan in the soon future. As we know, the virus is airborne and spreading quickly. It will be a hazard if we dont do anything— David Zhang (@Davidzhang2014) January 24, 2020
At least one school in the area has gone as far as independently implementing such rules. According to CTV News, the principal of Markham private school Somerset Academy issued a letter asking that students who have recently travelled to Asia stay off campus.
"You will not be permitted back into Somerset Academy or Yips until you and your family have been home from your travels a minimum of 15 days from the date you have landed back in Canada," the letter allegedly reads.
Just calm down. Be smart and take preventative measures. Wear gloves and a mask if it makes you feel better. Take your vitamins and make sure your immune system is in top form. Dont touch your face without washing your hands first and carry about alcohol sanitizers. You're ok.— dubs (@cheeezits_) January 27, 2020
Toronto's medical officer of health has continued to assert that the city and the provice are equipped to deal with any potential cases and that Torontonians do not have to be overly concerned, as the risk to the community is extremely low.
yall apparently a parent of a unionville high school student was on the same flight as the guy with the coronavirus in toronto. they're telling the kid to stay home. everyone markham (and of course everywhere) stay safe 😭— Krizia REYes ⚡ (@kreeshareyes) January 26, 2020
Still, many members of the public are still panicking, buying up (and re-selling) protective facemasks and showing up to emegency departments without any signs of illness.
Residents are asked to keep in mind that it is regular flu season, and that though little is known about the new novel coronavirus, tens of thousands of people in Canada die of the average flu (which are often a form of common coronavirus) every year without any associated public alarm.
Also, the median age of those who have died so far from the novel coronavirus is around 75, indicating that like many infectious diseases, the old, already sick and immunocompromised are the most susceptible and people in generally good health need not be inordinately worried.
#Coronavirustoronto Take a breath! Health officials have got this. They learned a lot from SARS. Technology has evolved. The flu is a bigger threat. Get a flu shot.— Donna Donnelly (@donnelly_donna) January 27, 2020
Toronto Public Health has also said that anyone presenting with flu-like symptoms including coughing, fever, sore throat and shortness of breath should stay at home to recover if they are not sick enough to require hospitalization, which "is standard care for this type of illness."
At the time of publication, more than 2,700 people have been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV — mostly of them China, with a few cases confirmed in over a dozen other countries including Australia, France, the U.S. — and 81 have died.
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