Spring Break Extends Due to COVID-19


Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is a 3-D rendering of what COVID-19 looks like under a microscope. The spikes along the viruses membrane are what allows it to attach to cells.

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

A current topic of conversation in daily life and in the news is the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Since its discovery in Wuhan, China back in late 2019, it has caused massive shut downs in the economy, widespread panic in people around the globe, according to BBC.

Coronaviruses were first identified during the mid-1960s, according to the CDC. There are a total of seven strains of the virus, and this particular strain mainly infects bats, pigs and other small mammals, according to the WSJ. While these viruses typically stay within a certain type of host, they can adapt quickly and easily infect other mammals such as humans. 

As far as symptoms, the Coronavirus mainly affects the respiratory system of its host, which causes fevers, coughing, shortness of breath and other breathing related issues, according to the World Health Organization. However, symptoms may not begin to show for up to two weeks after someone has been infected, which means someone may already have the virus without even knowing it. The virus is transmitted via respiratory fluids due to coughing, sneezing and general mouth contact, according to the CDC. They also stated that the reason why the virus is especially easy to spread is that a simple cough or sneeze can reach anyone in a six foot radius. For this reason it is important to distance yourself from others via self-quarantine or other self-isolating means. 

As for what can be done to prevent yourself from catching the virus during the break, the simple answer is soap and water. Washing your hands has a bit more to it than just taking some soap and dunking your hands into water. Viruses are made of proteins covered in a fatty coating, which means they act like drops of oil when they contact water and just float, according to Vox. Soap molecules are designed to pull apart those fatty coatings by attaching themselves to the virus coating and pulling it apart. But this effect can only be achieved after twenty seconds of washing.

As of March 27, the state of Texas has reported 1396 cases, and 18 deaths due to coronavirus according to The Texas Department of State Health Services. Out of the cases reported, 303 were in Dallas County and 119 in Travis County. In order to combat the spread of the virus, both the Williamson and Travis counties declared a stay-at-home decree on March 24 effective until April 13. 

Due to the severity of this epidemic, the LISD department has suspended all school-based activities until April 13 following the Counties’ decree. During this time all of its buildings will be closed to anyone that isn’t essential staff. In addition, all after school activities have been canceled; this includes any games, practices, events and rehearsals. The department has also discouraged all inner and outer state travel, as well as canceling any international travel altogether for any student groups. These new guidelines are in compliance with the CDC guidelines for travel. 

However, on March 19, the district has also stated that it will continue to provide distance learning. They are currently trying to figure out the best way to allow students to access their learning materials wherever they may be. Several emails have been sent out to parents and students from teachers in which their expectations and teaching opportunities are discussed. 

So in summary, don’t travel, wash your hands and stay updated on any future emails from LISD regarding the Coronavirus.