Singapore now has 18 confirmed cases of patients who have been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus. While there are no confirmed community outbreaks so far, it is important to stay protected from the virus.
As a tutor, you may face students who just returned from an overseas holiday or you may have gone on a well-deserved vacation overseas yourself. It will be a disaster if you are a carrier since you have several young children under your tutorage.
So it is crucial that you stay protected and here are ways on how you can protect yourself from the Wuhan Coronavirus:
Defer all travel to Hubei Province and all non-essential travel to Mainland China
If you have plans to visit mainland China, especially in Hubei province, cancel your trip for the meantime until the situation is under control. Currently, Singapore has ordered full travel restrictions to anyone who has recently visited Mainland China, including Wuhan.
Several airline companies have already released guidelines on how you can refund or reschedule your trips to the mainland without any penalties.
Monitor your health closely for two weeks if you do travel
If you recently travelled to China or any other country with confirmed cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus, monitor your health closely for 14 days once you are back in the country. At least 14 days is recommended for self-quarantine according to the Ministry of Health’s directive.
If you feel unwell during this period, contact your doctor immediately and let them know about your travel history.
Do practice good hygiene
When you go out of your home, practise good hygiene to protect yourself from getting infected. Wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap. If you don’t see soap around, you can keep alcohol or hand sanitizers to keep your hands clean.
If you have a cold or cough, or around people who have them, wear a surgical mask to prevent the virus from spreading.
Surgical masks can block particle droplets from spreading and keep them from being passed down to other people. When wearing one, make sure that the mask covers your mouth, chin and nose and its coloured side facing outward. If you will remove it, remove it from the straps and throw it away.
N95 masks are also good to prevent the spread of any virus. However, Singapore health officials say it is not a must to get one. It is actually hard to breathe into an N95 mask.
If you are going to cough or sneeze if not wearing a mask, use a tissue paper to cover your mouth then throw it after. Do not leave the tissue paper lying around because it can pass the virus to the people who will clean after you. Here are some extra tips for good hygiene.
See a doctor immediately if you feel unwell
If you are not feeling well, don’t take any chances and see your doctor immediately.
Let your doctor know if you have been to mainland China (or Wuhan) so they know how to proceed with your treatment.
The authorities are imposing quarantine periods for anyone with a recent travel history to China which can last for 14 days.
Be open and honest on your health status and likewise, seek the same from the parents
If you are feeling unwell or have been in mainland China for the past few days, don’t keep it from your student or their parents. Let them know why you are unable to meet with their children. Be responsible and considerate.
In turn, be open with communication and ask if the family have been in mainland China and ask for updates regarding their children’s health.
Cancel your tuition session if you feel unwell
When you do feel unwell after your travel from China or you think you are unwell after being with someone who did come from China, postpone your tuition sessions immediately. You would rather err on the safe side to protect both parties.
While your student’s grades are important, your health must not take a backseat in this current outbreak. Alert your student’s parents about your situation so they know why you can’t attend your sessions.
Do check with the parents if your students are unwell, reschedule your sessions
Openly offer to reschedule your sessions with your student without any extra fees if they are not feeling well, even if they cancel your tuition session at the last minute.
You would rather your students to seek medical care and rest at home than to force themselves to attend your session and risk exposure to their sickness.
Do not participate in fake news and squash any fear-mongering from your students
It is unavoidable nowadays to see fake news coming from various social media pages and websites saying how deadly the virus is or a cure has been found.
Do not support the discussions when you see fake news in your social media account and only check with credible sources to keep you up-to-date with the virus.
If your students are fear-mongering about the virus and its effects, stop them immediately. Let them know that even if Singapore is not the epicentre of the virus, everyone is at risk.
They should empathize with the people in Wuhan right now and we should not make light of the situation. Wuhan is on lockdown to prevent any more cases of the virus from spreading to other parts of China and the world. People there are unable to live their lives normally because of the lockdown and are now panicking about how they can survive.
You should also stop them from criticizing Chinese people online because of the virus and not make them feel unwanted. They too are at risk of this virus and even they do not know how the virus started.
If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest about the Wuhan Coronavirus, you should regularly check with the Singapore Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization and major news agencies like CNN, Reuters and The Strait Times.
It is unclear when the virus outbreak will stop or have a cure ready to stop it from growing to other parts of the globe. As a tutor, don’t compromise your health and your students if you have recently travelled to China or been with someone who has.
Stay vigilant and take precautionary measures to keep you safe from the virus.
Do you find communicating with your parents’ difficult? Here are some tips to ease you into it: