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Amid the current COVID-19 outbreak Richfield encourages all of our staff, students, and other stakeholders to exercise caution. Amid all the panic and misinformation we thought it would be good to share some facts about the Coronavirus and how to deal with it.
Why we need to prevent the spread
If you have a healthy immune system your chances of recovery from COVID-19 are high. The problem is that if you are sick, and out and about, you will be spreading the disease to immuno-compromised people who have a higher chance of developing complications and dying.
Immuno-compromised individuals include people over 60, cancer patients, pregnant people, those with asthma, and those with TB or HIV. As you know we have many immuno-compromised people in South Africa, many of which live in cramped conditions with little to no running water, making it vital that we prevent the disease from ever reaching these communities.
If we can limit the spread of the Coronavirus we will also be keeping the number of cases low enough for the health system to manage. If the virus spreads rapidly, however, our healthcare system will be flooded with Coronavirus cases over and above other cases, forcing medical staff to let some patients die.
It is a virus
The COVID-19 pandemic is a viral pandemic, not a bacterial one. This means that taking antibiotics will have no effect on the disease. Please do not take antibiotics unnecessarily as this makes you vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and will cause health problems in the future.
This is how it spreads
The virus spreads through droplets in coughs and sneezes, and on contaminated surfaces. It is not airborne, so wearing a mask will not prevent you from catching the disease. Masks are only effective in preventing those sick from spreading the virus as it catches their coughs and sneezes. We urge everyone not to buy a mask unless showing symptoms and to save masks for the sick.
The nature of the viral spread means we all need to take extra precautions both in terms of hygiene and social interactions.
Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Use hand sanitiser only if soap and clean water are not available.
If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 it is best for your community if you self-isolate. This means working from home and avoiding public spaces as much as possible so as to prevent spreading the virus to others. Symptoms of COVID-19 include coughing, sneezing, fever, and breathlessness.
To avoid both catching and spreading the virus it is necessary to avoid physical contact such as handshakes, high-fives, and hugs. It’s important to exercise illness etiquette by staying out of public spaces and only coughing and sneezing into the crook of your arm.
In light of the above, we have suspended all contact classes and converted them into online lessons that are accessible to our learners through their free, pre-programmed tablets. We are proud to say that Richfield students do not have to risk their education in the name of health.
Fact-check everything you hear and do not share any information without fact-checking it first. We urge everyone to believe only trusted media houses.
Do not spread heresy unless you have found it to be true on a trusted news site. The spread of misinformation incites panic and leaves others ill-equipped to effectively and safely deal with the outbreak.
Do not panic-buy groceries, sanitisers or masks. Doing this leaves little for those who really need these items. Remember, to avoid catching and spreading the virus, you need others to have access to masks and sanitisers, too. Consider donating groceries, sanitisers, and masks to those in need.
Lastly, Richfield does not condone any discriminatory behaviour, especially with regard to COVID-19. The fact of the matter is that anybody can be carrying the virus and everybody is deserving of respect and kindness.
We know that if we can come together and each do our part in fighting the Coronavirus, that we will become stronger as individuals, communities, and as a nation.
Click here for a handy guide to PSET.
An epidemiologist’s view on the outbreak, here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/361681004771293?view=permalink&id=584908852448506
The importance of limiting the spread of the virus, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.html?searchResultPosition=2
The government’s Covid-19 online portal, here: https://www.gov.za/NovelCoronavirus
The government’s Covid-19 Whatsapp hotline, here: https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=27600123456&text=Hi&source=&data=