Updates on COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19

March 7, 2020   

WE’RE ALL HEALTHY, prepared for COVID-19, which has come closer but is not here – so far

Southwestern’s campuses and our surrounding areas continue free of this year’s COVID-19 ‘flu as well as this year’s other influenza – so far at least.  As of this morning, there are around 200 cases in the United States, 35 in California (11 in our Los Angeles County), and two in Arizona.  Twelve have died in the U.S., ten in Washington State around Seattle, all with other medical problems, all but one elderly.   No cases so far are near either of our campuses, and most cases nationwide can be traced to people who visited or who are close to people who have visited other regions with COVID-19.  We know the virus will spread much more, and we’re prepared for some in our school community to be ill.

In the last few days a “State of Health Emergency” has been declared by state, county, and many city governments.  This has alarmed and even panicked some here and in other countries, thinking the U.S. is in great danger.   Understand these “emergency” declarations have been made by state and local governments to receive funds, get supplies, and prepare to quickly support increasing COVID-19 cases.  This gives local health agencies more tools and access to respond to this virus.

Please do not be alarmed or feel panic at news of a state of emergency here.  The Centers for Disease Controls continues to say we are more likely to contract this year’s influenza – ‘flu’ – than the coronavirus.  And while some children and adolescents around the world have been sick with this virus, young people seem to be much less affected than they elderly, and youngsters recover quickly.

Our faculty and staff continue to plan isolation for resident students who may become infected, to help them continue studies, until they are recovered.  We’ve planned how to provide food for all, prepared more hand-washing stations, and to take thermometer readings of all on campus frequently when cases come to nearby towns.  We urge international students to stay in the United States over next month’s Spring Break, and we will accommodate international students on campus during the break if necessary.  We’ve asked parents of day students, living nearby, to keep their young people at home if they are ill.  If any of our students travel to infected areas, they will be screened at U.S. airports and quarantined if needed away from school for 12-14 days.

Please join us in reminding your student frequently, as we are doing, to:

–Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom,

before eating, and after blowing noses, coughing, or sneezing;

–Cover a cough or sneeze with tissue and throw the tissue in the trash after use;

–Stay home or in a dorm room if sick.

We grieve for all in every country impacted by this disease, by illness or by economic hardship.

We know this is an international disease, not to be blamed on any country or people.  Our students are healthy, strong youth, continuing with good studies and campus activities.  Our Southwestern Sun baseball and volleyball teams are having a great season.  We will continue normal classes and activities as much as possible, while taking care of those experiencing illness.

Let me know of any questions, comments, or further concerns.

Kenneth Veronda, Headmaster