Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
Cincinnati Public Schools on Tuesday briefly shut down one school and announced the suspension of all upcoming international travel as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
According to district spokeswoman Frances Russ, the Academy of World Languages in Evanston canceled Tuesday classes after learning a staff member was in voluntary self-quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure. The building will be deep-cleaned, and all buses transporting AWL students will also be cleaned and sanitized.
“We continue to maintain communications with the City of Cincinnati Health Department,” Russ wrote in an email. “It is important to stress that there are no cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our school district.”
The academy is part of Cincinnati Public Schools and teaches Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and English as a second language to children in grades K-through-9.
The canceled international trips spanned the entire school district and would have taken 223 students to Italy, England, Spain, Belgium, Bahamas and the Philippines in April and May.
“This was not an easy decision,” superintendent Laura Mitchell wrote in a statement. “We share our students’ disappointment about the cancellation of long-anticipated trips, but we must consider the health and safety of our students and staff.”
Only three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state of Ohio. All involve patients in their mid-50s in Cuyahoga County near Cleveland.
Find coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail [email protected]
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.
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