Schools take measures to prevent Covid-19 from spreadingStudents and their parents feel awareness programmes need to be made mandatory at all schools.
Schools across the country have started taking measures to prevent the Covid-19 global epidemic from spreading.
While many schools across the country are conducting awareness programmes on washing hands and wearing face masks properly, some are taking temperatures of students and staffers and even cancelling extra-curricular activities.
“We have bought five thermometer guns—one for each block of the school,” said Sangita Shrestha, principal of the Senior Block of VS Niketan School, Minbhawan. “The school shall send any student of staff with fever over 100F home,” she told the Post, adding, “Luckily, we haven’t had such a case yet.”
Last week, the World Health Organisation said the coronavirus outbreak, which started in China in December, had reached a “decisive point” and it had potential to turn into a pandemic.
Administrators at the DAV Sushil Kedia School, Jawalakhel, cancelled all extracurricular activities and field trips for its 3,000 students from Wednesday. “We have brought in three nurses to look after the health of our students and staff,” said Vice-principal Ram Chandra Kaphle. Adarsha Vidya Mandir, Lalitpur encourages its students to bring hand sanitizers and face masks to schools. Several community-run schools such as Ratna Rajya School, New Baneshwor, have conducted awareness programmes for their students.
Many schools outside the Valley have also taken initiatives to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease. Mangala Secondary School, Lamjung, has been conducting awareness classes for its students for the past four days. “We have invited health workers from our district to our school to raise awareness,” said Bishnu Hari Bastola, principal at the school which has nearly 1,000 students.
Similarly, Bal Udaya Secondary School, Rolpa, organised an interaction with a doctor from the district hospital for its 346 students on ways to prevent the disease from spreading. “Dr Sapana Karna from the Rolpa Hospital explained to the students and teachers the symptoms of coronavirus,” said Khem Bahadur Buddha, a social activist based in the district. “We distributed 500 disposable masks and soaps to students,” he added.
The awareness initiatives taken by the schools have raised awareness among students and their parents. Anor Singh Karki, 74, father of a 10th-grade student at DAV was relieved after learning about the school’s campaign. “As parents, we are scared to send our kids to school. The school has given a holiday for the preparation of Secondary Education Examination. All schools should take strict measures to maintain the students’ hygiene,” said Karki.
Saugat Gharti, 17, a 10th-grade student at Bal Udaya School, Rolpa, said he found the awareness programme fruitful. “We now know the symptoms of the disease caused by coronavirus and precautions we need to take to avoid it,” he said.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 18, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 30,349,591 people with 950,555 deaths and 22,038,587 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,212,686 with 84,404 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 304,386 confirmed cases with 6,408 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 61,593 cases with 390 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.