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Novel Coronavirus Precautions

posted 27 Jan 2020, 17:55 by Debbie Stevens   [ updated 27 Jan 2020, 18:07 ]
Most of you will be aware of the recent Novel Coronavirus (2019nCoV) outbreak which originated in Wuhan City, China. This is a new virus and its specific nature is currently unclear. However, it appears that you can have the virus at an early stage and not be showing any symptoms.  This incubation period is currently considered to be up to 14 days. The likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high. However, the likelihood of an ongoing outbreak remains low. There are currently no confirmed cases in New Zealand.
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV.  Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. 
This communication is to reassure you that Waikato Diocesan School is monitoring the situation to ensure we do what we can to protect students and staff. All international and boarding students who have travelled from infected areas will be checked on arrival to boarding and regularly monitored by the school medical staff.
For any student who may be at high risk of exposure or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with the virus, we encourage you to delay the start of your school year for 14 days and voluntarily stay away. 

Please read the following useful information and err on the side of caution if you or a member of your family is unwell.
  • As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at school. We urge parents to contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or their GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.
  • The student/staff member must stay away for the infectious period of the specific disease.  Principals can request that a student/staff member with an infectious disease, or who is suspected of having an infectious disease, does not attend.
  • Please keep an eye on the Ministry of Health website.
The World Health Organisation advises people to follow the below basic principles to reduce the general risk of infectious disease.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • Wash hands frequently (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds), especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • Clean and disinfect objects or surfaces
  • People with symptoms of infection should practice cough etiquette:
  1. maintain distance
  2. cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing
  3. wash hands.
We will continue to take advice and guidance from public health authorities and the Ministry of Education on this situation, which at the moment is continuously evolving. Please be assured that we will update you on further important developments, if these occur, through our school communication channels.  In the meantime, the World Health Organisation is monitoring this event and its website is a good source of information covering the virus itself, travel guidance advice and questions and answers.