What does COVID-19 mean for Etowah?

Nicole Martin, Editor

The Cherokee County school board recently announced the cancelation of school from March 16-27 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) following an announcement by Governor Brian Kemp advising all schools to shut down. Additionally, all field trips and extracurricular activities, with the exception of few sports depending on the situation, have been cancelled for the month of March. While this causes panic among the community, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has released tips to stay safe during the global pandemic. Additionally, there are resources available for students who rely on school lunches and school technology.

“I’m kind of scared because I have a grandma who has really bad health, so she’s already quarantining. I’m not scared for myself, but I’m scared for other people,” Emilie Dudgeon, junior, said.

The most important step is to sanitize frequently. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and use hand sanitizer as often as possible. Second, wipe down all hard surfaces with antibacterial wipes. Third, if people are showing any of the symptoms of the virus (fever, cough, sore throat), they should not leave the house. While the chances of death are extremely low, the virus is highly contagious, and everyone should do his or her part to minimize the spread. If there is a chance that someone has been exposed, he or she should take it seriously and self quarantine. Since it usually takes 14 days to develop symptoms, many people spread it without realizing they have it. Some believe that one of the reasons it spreads so fast is because many people experience low level symptoms or none at all and do not realize they are spreading it. 

Schools are doing their part to prevent the spread by cancelling events. For many students, this is a disappointment to events they had been looking forward to. For example, the East WING’s trip to Washington D.C., was cancelled, as well as the chorus trip to New York. Additionally, the school board is continuing to cancel some sport games.

“It’s causing everything to be cancelled including our golf matches and school,” Lucy Armstrong, freshman, said.

This also means that teachers have to start using online school for the time being. There are special resources available for students who do not have access to technology or students who rely on school lunches. On March 16 and 24 between 10 am-2 pm, The Cruising Café will provide meals to be picked up at Etowah East. The student must be in the car, and the family must drive by to pick it up without getting out of their car. There are other pick up locations listed in the email that Penny Jones sent to the school.

“Parents will simply drive up to the front of the East Cafe. Each student will receive a lunch meal for Monday and breakfast and lunch meals for Tuesday through Friday,” Jones said in the email sent March 13.

Currently, there has been one COVID-19 death and 31 cases in Georgia. The Cherokee County school district has been planning for the spread of the virus for several weeks. 

“In the event we were to need to close schools, for any reason, our Canvas online learning management system, which our students and teachers have tested for the past year, allows for teaching and learning to continue in these situations,” Barbra Jacopy, Chief Communications Officer, said in the email sent to Cherokee County parents on Feb. 26.

While it is easy to panic over the virus, the death rates are not very high. While the president has announced in his Oval Office address plans to reduce the spread of the virus, including a ban on travel from Europe, he has also expressed urge not to panic.

“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of the CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” President Donald Trump tweeted on March 9

The best thing to do is stay calm and sanitize.