World-Wide Health Concern

A mysterious deadly virus has spread across China. It has captured the attention of the whole world. 

This specific virus is named 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and first thought to be linked to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. However, its true origin is still a mystery. It is also still unclear how easily the virus is spreading between people. The symptoms of the virus include fever, sneezing, cough, and runny nose — very similar to what we know as flu symptoms. 

This coronavirus is spreading much like MERS and SARS, which affected China back in 2003. Today, China has shut down its tourist sites, canceled most travel plans by air and railway, and extended the length of the Spring Festival break for both Chinese workers and students. At this point, there are no longer enough supplies of surgical masks, and it is hard to get food supplies due to the shutdown of so many businesses. As of January 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Novel Coronavirus is a health emergency of international concern, as the number of person-to-person cases outside of China rises daily. 

The news of this virus is affecting our Rectory School community because there is a large population of Chinese students here. Many of these students are worried about their families at home in China. Mr. Williams, Rectory’s Headmaster, has requested that some of our parents not travel to the U.S. from China for Rectory’s upcoming “February long weekend.” So the number of students needing homestays, i.e., housing accommodations, has increased, and more students have decided to join Rectory’s Sunday River Ski Trip with Mr. Williams. We have also received news that our Chinese, Japanese, and Korean students will not be able to return home for Spring Break in March. It is difficult to express our disappointment, but this is the reality that we are facing. We have never experienced such a serious problem before in our lifetime. 

What can we all do to stay healthy and safe from contracting a contagious illness, such as the Coronavirus? 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or more
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • When you sneeze or cough, do it into your arm
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Use a hand sanitizer (like Purell) 

The world and even our Rectory community continue to stay alert to the news of how the Novel Coronavirus may affect us. We recommend that our Rectory students stay in touch with their parents and try not to be too overwhelmed with worry. (That is easier said, than done!) We hope that the doctors can take good care of those who are sick and that the scientists can create a vaccine to prevent this and similar diseases from infecting us in the future. 

Reporter’s Note: Resources referenced for this article include, DW (a German public broadcast service), and