SMUSD prepares for potential COVID-19 outbreak
March 10, 2020
The spread of sensationalized media coverage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak originating from Wuhan, China continues to plague San Diegans with fear. Amidst the panic and confusion, San Diego County called for preventative measures to be taken and announced in a press conference on Feb. 14 that both a public health emergency and local emergency were being declared to strengthen San Diego’s early response to COVID-19.
“Again, to be clear, today’s actions do not signify any increase in the risk of the residents of San Diego county, but it does signify another step in the county’s ongoing efforts to best protect the public to remain eternally vigilant and take every action we believe puts us in the strongest position to ensure the health and safety of the residents of San Diego,” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletchers at the press conference.
The risk of person-to-person spreading among the general public remains low in the U.S., but five states have declared a state of emergency as of March 9: Washington, California, Maryland, Florida, and New York. The COVID-19 virus is being observed as a pandemic, sparking San Diego school districts to take initiative in their local communities and remind students and families to stay home if they are sick and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
“If you have a fever of a hundred degrees or more and have symptoms of a respiratory illness it’s important that you stay home and call your doctor. I know a lot of times students really want to come to school because they are AP students and they don’t want to miss things, but it’s just really critical to prevent the spread of infection,” said Jan Bagdasar, the MHHS health office nurse.
Because there is still no vaccine to protect people against COVID-19, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are the best method of prevention. People can find more information on how to practice NPIs in their daily lives on the CDC website.
Issued on Feb. 26, a statement emailed to parents and posted onto the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) website continues to update students and families on the COVID-19 situation. As spring break approaches, it is especially important for travelers to check out the sources linked onto the page as a reminder to consider safe travel precautions as the current travel bans and extra health screenings at airports may cause changes in vacation plans.
“I think the panic we are seeing in society is really unnecessary. And like influenza, coronavirus is really only going to be fatal to people who are elderly, immunocompromised or have some other underlying illness that really predisposes them to not be able to fight off an infection,” Bagdasar said.
Despite the paranoia and frenzy you may witness at nearby Costcos or circulating the media, it is important to remain calm and stay informed by watching the news and looking for local updates regarding the virus.
“If you’re under 50, you have a very minimal chance of becoming very sick and have less than 1 percent risk of dying from it, so there’s a greater chance from dying from many things at your age than coronavirus,” Bagdasar said.