By: Mr. Voutsinos
I once watched my late grandfather get stung by a scorpion then retreat to his chair to wait out the poison that just entered his body. While we urged him to see a doctor, he shook us off and told us that we worry too much about things that one should not worry about. For all those My Big Fat Greek Wedding fans - I wish was joking about this - he then proceeded to retrieve a cleaning product from the cleaning supplies cabinet, sprayed it on his hand – proclaimed that it was taken care of, then sat down and lit a cigarette. As he gazed into the early evening sky, he followed every exhale of nicotine, with a large inhale from his oxygen machine that he needed due do 65+ years of smoking. I remember this vividly as I will never forget seeing his hand grow to a size that looked as though he was wearing a boxing a glove.
Just before bed, he proudly exclaimed, “I told you so,” as his hand somehow returned to normal size. He could now hold his oxygen mask in his right hand and his cigarette in his left hand and alternate between the two until bedtime.
While I could never adopt my grandfather’s laissez-faire attitude towards health, I admire him for staying calm in times of uncertainty.
Over the last few months, we have been closely following the direction given by our federal, provincial and local health agencies as it relates to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to communicate and remain transparent with our school community regarding any information that is shared with us. According to Toronto Public Health, the virus is not transmitting locally; however, they are working with health partners to plan for the potential of a local spread.
Much to the chagrin of my grandfather, we will continue to take our direction from local health care agencies to determine the best course of action. While we don’t intend to contribute to mass hysteria, we are taking this situation seriously, and any decisions we make will be made based on the best advice given to us by our local health agencies. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to take the following direction from Toronto Public Health, to avoid contracting or spreading the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill
- Stay home when you are ill
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
We know there is sometimes a fear with our students in missing school. Please rest assured that students who miss classes due to illness will not be penalized, and teachers will continue to communicate with students who are absent to ensure they don’t fall too far behind. Therefore, any students who are exhibiting symptoms of any illness should remain home until their symptoms go away.
We wish everyone a safe and restful March break, and we continue to pray for those around the world who have contracted the virus that they make a full recovery.