More about The Coronavirus & Schools

As CMC posted recently, college administrators have acted proactively and preemptively to inform their communities about the novel 2019-nCoV or coronavirus and how students and faculty can get assistance if needed. In discussions about the coronavirus with former CMC clients who are now college students, they report already recieving weekly email alerts about taking precautions, like reporting any illness immediately to student health providers as well as practicing simple hygiene, like consistent hand-washing.

Given the regular scholar exchanges between U.S. and international universities, college adminstrators all over the country are monitoring reports about the rapid evolution of the coronavirus. Additionally, college administrators are equally cautious, since students live densely packed in residence halls, which can present unique public health challenges during any given cold/flu season.

And, their caution is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Nancy Messonnier‘s recent announcement:

“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in the United States. It’s not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,”

The Washington Post, February 25, 2020

Yet, many K-12 school administrators have not yet issued public statements alerting families about preventative measures nor to help parents prepare for potential school closures. In contrast, the California Department of Public Health issued a statement for Childcare Directors and Pre-School Administrators about how they can prepare their families and teach the children in their charge about preventative measures.

However, if and when, there is a sustained outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, Ms. Messonnier and CDC officials recommend:

Schools should consider ways to limit face-to-face contact, such as dividing students into smaller groups, school closures and Internet-based learning.

The Washington Post, February 25, 2020

Yet, while the CDC and other US public health officials are promoting forward planning, university alerts are mostly discussing prevention precautions, as well as additional help to quell any emotional reactions to the uncertainty about the coronavirus.

The CMC student in her first year at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), fowareded email alerts which include references to counseling services for students to process their concerns or fears about the novel 2019-nCoV or coronavirus. Additionally, the alerts share updates about how university health services are amending screening protocol to spot signs of coronavirus.

At Georgetown University, CMC’s client shared emails which included a confidential survey for students who had recently travelled from China, returning from the winter break, so that officials can privately consult them on any potential health issues.

And, at DePaul University, CMC’s former client and current third-year shared that college administrators also encouraged students who both recently returned from China to take a mandatory leave of absence for two weeks and the university would excuse all absences. (UCSD email alerts also stated that University Student Health would issue official “notes” to excuse them from classes, should they be ill.)

Additionally, at all three universities, as well as in a quick query of several college websites, universities have suspended all non-essential travel for both students and faculty to China, and other countries until the U.S. Government changes its travel recommendations.

Furthermore, now with individuals affected throughout Europe, countries in the Middle East, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries, students and scholars would be wise to prepare for additional travel bans, as many universities are already suspending study abroad programs. For those who are already studying abroad, contacting their university study abroad administrators to begin making preparations to return home or to take precautions in a new country, as well as understand what university officials have planned so they can continue their education with the least disruption.

With the current Gen Z’er college student adept at social media, the proliferation of information, makes public health officials and college administrators jobs to educate the young about the 2019-nCoV, coronavirus, even more complex, yet necessary. U.S. Health Officials, like Ms. Messioner of the CDC warn:

We’re not seeing community spread here in the United States yet, but it’s very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen.

Our goal continues to be to slow the introduction of the virus into the U.S. This buys us more time to prepare communities for more cases and possibly sustained spread.

Reuters, February 21, 2020

If college students can disseminate recommendations of the CDC and other objective sources through social media, then the young, who tend to heed the advice of their peers more readily, can be prepared for any situations arising from the novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus. And, when parents are similarly informed, they can work with their college and other school-aged students and be proactive so their children all have continuity in their education as well as protect their well-being.


For 17 years at Creative Marbles Consultancy, we understand the need for families to make timely decisions about their children’s education. Given the current concerns about coronavirus, we are ready to continue advising families about pressing educational questions via an online presence that we have robustly developed over the years, so there is a continuity in your student’s educational planning. Contact us at (916) 457-4090 or for more details.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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