School taking action in response to coronavirus

Administration, health professionals postpone athletics, prepare for possible school closure

Senior+Collin+Ritchie+uses+hand+sanitizer+outside+the+Spark+Studio+before+lunch.+SAGE%2C+the+school%27s+catering+service+provider%2C+increased+hand+sanitizer+availability+in+the+cafeteria.

Nik Chupkin | The Roundtable

Senior Collin Ritchie uses hand sanitizer outside the Spark Studio before lunch. SAGE, the school's catering service provider, increased hand sanitizer availability in the cafeteria.

By Nik Chupkin, Web Editor

As COVID-19 becomes a pandemic, Convent & Stuart Hall administrators and health professionals are taking action to reduce its spread and attempt to keep the community safe by following recommendations from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

School officials have postponed athletics through March 22.

“Given the current situation, I think we are being cautious and proactive,” Dana Kuwahara, Head of Athletics and Physical Education, said. “We should take the health recommendations seriously to protect ourselves and our community.”

With athletics postponed, student athletes are encouraged to continue their training outside of school practices.

“The performance lab will be open for business between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. every day, so just come in whenever you can,” Barclay Spring, athletics, strength and conditioning coach, said.

Spring sent his first email to all students with video tutorials of workouts they can do at home, and will continue to send videos for the duration of the athletics suspension.

“Keep it simple, run stairs, run hills, do push-ups, do pull-ups, jump rope, do walking lunges, do air squats,” Spring said. “Just make sure you’re doing something.”

The symptoms are similar to a cold or flu, but most people in our community are not at risk of having this virus be a lethal case for them.”

— Justine Li

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and usually appear after an incubation period of two to 14 days, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We all should be very cautious,” campus health professional Justine Li said. “The symptoms are similar to a cold or flu, but most people in our community are not at risk of having this virus be a lethal case for them.”

As we continue to monitor developments in the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, in addition to intensive cleaning of our building every night, we have added cleanings throughout the day in high-density areas.”

— Ann Marie Krejcarek

Li recommends students and faculty work on boosting and protecting their immune systems to better defend against COVID-19.

“It’s highly recommended that you’re getting adequate sleep and you have an adequate intake of vitamin C and vitamin D,” Li said. “Reduce the amount of infectious material you are exposed to, means staying away from people who have traveled to concerning areas and avoiding people who are ill.”

Li also stresses the importance of washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available.

“Cover your entire hand [with soap], the forearm, if possible, and get the back of your hands and your nails as well,” Li said. “Also avoid touching commonly touched things such as phones, doorknobs, the tongs in our cafeteria, and then touching your face and eyes.”

School officials say that COVID-19 is a priority concern.

“As a school leader, your number one concern is always the safety and well-being of your student body and your faculty and staff,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. 

SAGE, the school’s catering service, is sanitizing the entire buffet twice a day and changing all serving utensils every 15 minutes.

As we continue to monitor developments in the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, in addition to intensive cleaning of our building every night, we have added cleanings throughout the day in high-density areas,” President Ann Marie Krejcarek wrote in a Thursday Notes Update.

Although administrators are preparing an electronic learning contingency in case they need to quarantine the school, the goal is to stay open.

“Our main concern is to remain open,” Simpson said. We’re developing contingencies if we need to close, with an effort to focus on our essential function during the school day.”

More information about COVID-19 and health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s website.

“If you do get sick, it’s recommended that you self-quarantine or visit the hospital or your physician,” Li said. “This is coming from a lot of qualified individuals, including physicians and public health officials who are making these types of recommendations. 

Sartaj Rajpal contributed to this article