CDC/ALISSA ECKERT, MS; DAN HIGGINS, MAMS
People all over the world are buying massive amounts of toilet paper to protect themselves against a world-wide fear: COVID 19. This massive illness has shut down schools all around the world, including Kingsport City Schools.
COVID-19, or coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that develops through close contact with an infected person and when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is particularly terrifying because of its ambiguity.
Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has publicly stated that the difference between the flu and COVID-19 is that people have more experience with the flu.
People know when the flu hits, how to treat it and what its effects are. However, people don’t know how COVID-19 is going to affect society.
Many people are doing unprecedented things, like buying in bulk or closing buildings, because they don’t know how bad things could get.
COVID-19 has impacted many people, workplaces and schools all over the world.
What began as a few cases in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019 has sparked massive outbreaks, causing the World Health Organization to declare COVID-19 a pandemic, or worldwide illness.
The countries most affected by COVID-19 are those with the highest populations and tightest living spaces. The virus mainly affects those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, those recovering from cancer or those with autoimmune diseases.
Although young people are the least likely to die from COVID-19, they can still show symptoms and spread the virus to people who can die from it. The dangerous thing about COVID-19 is that the virus can stay alive on a surface for six to eight hours, four times longer than the flu.
The “Guardian” reported that the cases of COVID-19 rose from 798 to 1,140 in just 24 hours. According to the CDC, there have been over 100,000 cases in the United States.
Because of the rapid growth of this illness, many companies and buildings have been shut down to prevent the pandemic from spreading. These include Bristol City Schools, Sullivan County Schools and Kingsport City Schools.
Annette Tudor of Bristol City Schools, Jeff Moorhouse of Kingsport City Schools and David Cox of Sullivan County Schools sent a joint letter to students and faculty informing them of the school closure.
“As a community, we are all concerned with the health and well-being of our citizens and feel this is the most appropriate measure for Sullivan County’s students and families at this time,” the letter said.
Across the globe, 300 million students are missing class, from college students to preschool students.
Schools included in the joint-letter were scheduled to be closed for two weeks, but they extended this break through April 24.
“The closure of Bristol City Schools, Kingsport City Schools, and Sullivan County Schools has been extended through Friday, April 24, 2020,” a follow-up letter said. “This includes all extra-curricular and athletic activities.”
In a public address on March 16, Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, urged every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as possible.
“Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31,” he said. “Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”
During the closure, Kingsport City Schools has offered free breakfast and lunch to any child under eighteen, regardless of whether they attend the schools or not. KCS busses will drive to meeting spots to drop off the food in order to reduce the spread of germs.
“To help meet the nutritional needs of our community while Kingsport City Schools is closed due to COVID-19, the KCS School Nutrition Services department will be providing free breakfast and lunch to any child age 18 or under on all weekdays when school would have been in session,” Assistant Superintendent Andy True stated in a phone call to parents.
Overall, the school districts of Sullivan County are trying to do their part to help prevent the spread of what could go down in the history books as an international crisis.