Canadian education professionals need to be paying very close attention to developments regarding the coronavirus. While the people affected by the Coronavirus outbreak are thousands of miles away, it is spreading fast.
Seven cases have been reported in Canada as of this writing and as many as 20 more are suspected. This means education professionals should take steps now to help protect the health of Canadian students and staff. The best way to do this is with information. Among the things we all should know about Coronavirus are the following:
What is Coronavirus
The virus is associated with the common cold, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). According to the World Health Organization, what is spreading in China and other parts of the world is a “novel” strain of the virus that attacks humans. Historically, the virus was transmitted among animals.
The most common symptoms
According to Health Canada, typical coronavirus symptoms include headaches, coughing, a sore throat and fever. But more serious strains of the infection can cause illnesses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), pneumonia, respiratory failure, or kidney failure. Since most of the virus’ symptoms are internal, most infected people would initially appear as though they had a cold, or would show no visible symptoms at all.
The most vulnerable to coronavirus
Like most viruses, the most vulnerable people tend to be older or are children. However, we have witnessed many people attacked by the virus that do not fall into these two categories.
How Coronavirus is spread
Coronavirus is an airborne virus. When someone coughs or sneezes, droplets are spread to other people and on to nearby surfaces. When on surfaces, it can live as long as six days. Additionally, the virus can be spread by touching or shaking hands with someone that has the virus and has not washed their hands properly.
If someone has the virus
They must stay home. Avoid close contact with others.
Now that we know a bit more about the disease, what can education professionals do to help protect children and staff? Among them are the following:
- Share credible, reliable information. In most cases, this means following reports from the Canadian Government.
- Place handwashing posters in all school washrooms. Regular and effective handwashing will help prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
- Because it can live up to six days on surfaces, all “high touch” surfaces must be properly cleaned and sanitized every day. The word “properly” is highlighted because this generally means that surfaces must be cleaned first and then disinfected. Cleaning removes soils; disinfecting kills almost all pathogens on surfaces.
- Review cleaning protocols. Mops, buckets, sprayers, and cleaning cloths should not be used. We know these cleaning tools can spread pathogens. Select automated cleaning systems such as no-touch or spray-and-vac machines, to clean surfaces and remove soils and contamination. These systems also help isolate the cleaning worker from virus exposure.Finally, ask for help. At this juncture, effective cleaning is one of the most powerful tools we can use to fight the spread of this disease. Your local janitorial distributor can be one of your best sources on the most effective ways to keep Canadian schools clean and healthy.Regards,
Drew Bunn is the Canadian Sales Manager for Kaivac, manufacturers of professional cleaning equipment.