Important information regarding the coronavirus

By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Monday January 27, 2020

As you will all be aware, an outbreak of a new coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, is rapidly spreading across China and worldwide. Here is some key information about working to contain it spreading in New Zealand.

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

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 14 days. 

Signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing; these are similar to the symptoms of a range of other respiratory diseases, and do not necessary mean you have the novel coronavirus. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. 

Because you can have the virus and not show any signs for some time, we are acting upon advice from the Ministry of Education, and asking all students and staff who have recently returned from anywhere in China, or have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed as having the virus, to stay away from school for the first 14 days of the school year or for 14 days after arriving back in New Zealand. Once the incubation period has passed and you still have no signs of the virus, you are most welcome to return to school. 

Please note that if staff at Amesbury School have reasonable grounds to suspect that a student may be showing  signs of the virus, we will ask for them to be picked up immediately and stay away from school until they have been checked by a health professional.

If you are unsure of whether or not your child/ren should stay away from school, please do not hesitate to contact me via phone or email to discuss it further. 

Ways to avoid the spread of this virus are: 

  • avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
  • wash hands using soap and water frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • keep all surfaces cleaned regularly
  • open windows where possible, to keep air flowing freely
  • people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette:
    • maintain distance
    • cough and sneeze into disposable tissues and dispose of them straight away. Then wash hands 
    • wash hands often with soap and water.

Here are some useful links about the virus:

Ministry of Health Guidance regarding the coronavirus

Information for travellers from China arriving in New Zealand

Thank you for helping us to keep all of our students, staff, whānau and community safe. 

Warm regards, 

Urs Cunningham