PREP prepares for the possible COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

To all PREP students, staff, host parents and school administrators,

As you know, the PREP community has done a lot of work since January to combat the Coronavirus outbreak in China. We donated $20,222 to purchase medical supplies and shipped to local hospitals next to Wuhan, thanks to your contribution. In US, we cancelled our Winter Camp program and Spring Break program for the safety of our students. But the situation continues to develop and it seems like a pandemic is on the horizon.

Last week, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said, “We expect we will see community spread in this country,” “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.” 

Today, it was reported, during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday meeting, health officials said that Travis County is currently in “Phase 2,” which means there is an individual or individuals who are being tested for the coronavirus. 

It becomes apparent that we, as a community, have to prepare for the inevitable. 

Our preparation efforts consist of four approaches:

Education

We are hosting a zoom meeting at 8PM on Friday, March 6th, to give our students appropriate training on how to protect themselves and people around them. Dr. Li, a student’s parent, who is an expert on this topic, will teach our students practical ways to reduce the risk of exposure and answer their questions. 

This meeting is MANDATORY for all PREP students. Click the link to join the meeting: https://zoom.us/j/5128506688  

Precaution

We are advocating the following precautious etiquette based on the recommendation from Mr. James Robb, MD UC San Diego.

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on the bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious viruses that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

Preparation

Also based on Dr. Robb’s recommendation, we recommend our host parents to stock the following items: 

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

2) Disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Hand sanitizers. The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

Communication

1) Keep students at home if they are sick. AND inform PREP immediately.

2) If your students are traveling out of the home city, please make sure to inform PREP and obtain approval.

3) Other than school, church or PREP activities, if your students are attending events with a large crowd, please make sure to inform PREP and obtain approval.

Next Steps:

Please go through this guideline with your students at home and prepare accordingly. 

PREP will continue to evaluate the situation and issue new guidelines when necessary. We will let you know our plan for the summer if we determine that it is not safe for our students traveling back to China AND or returning to the US. 

Please let us know any questions you might have and how we can assist you. We appreciate your love and care of our students. It is in the moment like this, we can meditate on God’s words and pray, 

“May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!’ ~Psalms 29:11