Peel District School Board cancels international trips in wake of coronavirus spread


The Peel District School Board (PDSB)—the board that oversees public schools in Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon—has cancelled international trips in the wake of the spread of coronavirus (or COVID-19). 

The board is also sharing March Break travel tips with those who are concerned about the virus. 

"With March Break just around the corner, some families and staff members may choose to spend the week travelling abroad. As a precautionary measure, the Peel board cancelled both school trips to Europe that were scheduled to happen over March Break," Peter Joshua, director of education, said in a letter to the community. 

As of now, the recommendations from the Region of Peel are to follow the federal government's travel alerts and to avoid all non-essential travel to countries flagged as ‘high risk,' including mainland China, Iran and Italy. Travellers are advised to take extra precautions should they choose to travel to South Korea or Japan.  

"It is important to understand that COVID-19 is having an impact globally, and that non-essential travel in general is an additional risk that we should all consider," Joshua writes.

"The Public Health Agency of Canada is also recommending avoiding all cruise ship travel in light of the risk associated with the COVID-19 virus. All travellers are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact Peel Public Health if they feel sick."

The letter reminds residents who travel outside Canada to monitor their health when they return, as they may have come in contact with the COVID-19 virus while abroad. 

Travellers should monitor their health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after they arrive in Canada. 

If you have these symptoms, you are asked to contact Peel Public Health within 24 hours of arriving in Canada at 905-799-7700 (or 905-584-2216 if you live in Caledon). 

If you return from Iran or Hubei province in China, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days, starting the day you began your journey back to Canada. This means self-isolating and staying at home. In addition, contact Peel Public Health within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

Residents are reminded to stay home if they feel sick or unwell, follow the advice of their health care provider if they have been asked to self-monitor , and wash their hands often with soap and water and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not available. 

Residents are also asked to practice good cough and sneezing etiquette by coughing and sneezing into their upper sleeve or elbow and washing their hands after coughing and sneezing.

"Peel Public Health, provincial and federal agencies continue to provide school boards with guidance and direction to protect students and staff. At this time, the risk for residents of Peel and Ontario remains low," Joshua writes. 

"If this changes and public health agencies direct additional monitoring or precautionary measures, we will let you know. As well, in the event that risk increases in Peel Region, the Peel board will activate a comprehensive COVID-19 preparedness plan." 

As of March 10, there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Peel. Thirty-six cases have been reported in Ontario, four of which have been resolved (meaning the patients have made a full recovery). The province says 112 possible cases are under investigation.

Over 70 cases have been reported in Canada, and one person has died.  

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