North Texas school districts are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus as students and staff begin their spring break vacations.
Plano, Grapevine-Colleyville, Coppell, and Frisco ISDs ask students and employees who are traveling over spring break to countries hit the hardest by COVID-19 infections to self-quarantine when they return to North Texas.
Allen ISD announced a similar policy on Tuesday.
Students and employees traveling to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan -- or who have members of their households traveling to those countries -- are asked to stay home for 14 days following their return home.
“Instead of shopping in Milan, we’re shopping at Grapevine Mills and instead of going to an Inter Milan Soccer game, we’re going to go to a Dallas Stars hockey game," said James Hill who cancelled he and his daughter's trip to Italy for spring break.
He said his daughter's district would have her sit out of class for a couple weeks and his wife's boss would have her stay home for some time too.
“So we decided we really couldn’t do that, and then, the Airport in Milan was closed, so our trip was kind of iffy either way, so we went ahead and canceled it," said Hill who was supposed to leave last Saturday. "My daughter and I were still willing to do it, and she could do school over the internet, but when my wife’s boss said she would have to stay home from work, the wife vetoed our plans.”
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists China, Iran, Italy and South Korea under a Level 3 travel health notice, which recommends people to avoid all non-essential travel and encourages self-quarantine following travel to those countries. Japan is under a Level 2 notice, which discourages travel for older adults and anyone with health issues.
The school districts are also asking people to fill out forms to report whether a student, employee or someone in the household traveled to any of the countries listed.
A notice posted to the district's website says administrators will work with families and staff to resolve any attendance issues related to the self-quarantine.
“I think it’s a little over the top , the number of cases are really small, the majority of people effected are elderly and, in term it doesn’t really impact our family, we’re all young and healthy and excited to travel," expressed Hill. "It seems like they’re putting a damper on things for a few cases here and there.”
In all, more than 110,000 people have tested positive for the disease and more than 3,800 people with the virus have died around the world, most of them in China. Some 62,000 people have already recovered.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott