Coronavirus Rumors Spread
LYLLI DUONG , ANALY HIDALGO Copy Editor , Staff Writer
In late December 2019, a strain of coronavirus began to spread in China. Many of the ill people had contact with a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, a large city in eastern China. The virus can spread from person to person, but as of right now, the virus can only be spread by someone who went to Wuhan and has the virus.
After the news of the outbreak spread over a weekend, the school emailed teachers and parents about the policy of masks at school. At the beginning of the week, students could be seen wearing masks mainly out of fear of others having the virus. There should not be a ban for the masks since it is common for Asian students to regularly wear them as a safety measure.
In response, the school later added to their email stating that any teacher that has students with masks would be sent to the nurse’s office. Students, specifically Asian students, are known to wear masks when they are sick, but this has started a bias toward Asian students. The school has not officially banned masks, but has sent notice that they are not useful for preventing the disease.
The virus is thought to be spread from person to person, occurring mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. It is true that the masks would not do very much to protect the students from this virus, but it does help with other illnesses like the flu or cold. The masks can cause students to be more paranoid about others having the virus. Since the virus began in China, and the school has a large population of Chinese students, there does appear to be a level of prejudice being placed toward them. A petition even went up online, purporting to be written by an AHS student, asking for classes to be cancelled.Alhambra is not the only school dealing with some backlash when it comes to the coronavirus. Recently, a student at Arizona State University (ASU) was found to have the virus and is being monitored. The initial reaction from some ASU students after hearing the news was to stop going to classes out of fear for their health. ASU also had an online petition with more than 15,000 signatures asking for classes to be cancelled. As long as the infected student has stopped going to campus, however, it is unlikely that anyone else at the school could get infected.
The main concern of this virus is that there is currently no vaccine for it. This means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population such as those with existing respiratory or immune problems to protect themselves. The district does not know if any of the students wearing the masks have respiratory issues. It is not fair to students who have a higher health risk to not be allowed to wear the masks. Any possible banning of masks should not go forward. To prevent disease we should all be getting plenty of sleep and remembering to wash our hands. To prevent discrimination on campus, we should all not lose our heads.