Black River Reacts to Coronavirus Outbreak


"MERS Coronavirus Particles" by National Institutes of Health (NIH) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Nicole Perera and Anya Scott

The Facts

The developing respiratory disease known as the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is evidently one of the world’s largest concerns, ever since it began in the city of Wuhan, China. Although it may seem like a world away, some unease has trickled down onto Black River students ever since the virus was declared a Global Health Emergency on January 31st by the World Health Organization

At the time of publication, there are about 82,550 people internationally who are confirmed to have the virus, with the majority of the victims, approximately 78,497 located in mainland China. Outside of China, there are other countless Asian territories, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and South Korea, that are currently facing the fatal challenges presented by the virus, as is Italy. According to Johns Hopkins’ CSSE data, there have been roughly 2,810 deaths and 33,252 recoveries around the world, making the rate of recovery significantly higher than the quantity of deaths.

According to the New York Times, Chinese officials in Wuhan have been gathering patients from nearby cities who could not be admitted into hospitals and converting “stadiums, exhibition centers, hotels and schools” into temporary medical facilities. On February 3rd, a new hospital consisting of 1,000 beds was opened in Wuhan to accommodate the multitude of infected individuals. 

Black River’s Reaction

All of this can feel a little overwhelming, and Black River students are having mixed responses to the outbreak. Some, like freshman Olivia Emig, say, “It’s one of those things you hear about, but it doesn’t seem to impact your life too much,” and that although it can be concerning, “I don’t really let it affect my day to day life.” 8th grader Ashley Landman agrees, saying that she’s “not really worried about it.”

On the other hand, many students are nervous about the disease’s spread. 9th grader Audrey Bortner thinks it’s concerning because “it’s airborne and people don’t show symptoms right away.” 7th grader Jackson Mangum is also worried, a thinks that “we should team up to try and find a cure.” 

Regardless of students’ attitude towards the virus, Black River is ensuring to keep the school properly sanitized and safe. According to Black River’s Head of School, Shannon Brunink, schools have always had a mandatory cleaning schedule, but that “during the flu season, it is a priority.” Around this time of the year, many potent –yet safe– chemicals are used to disinfect commonly used objects. Furthermore, due to the Michigan Department of Education, if Black River has less than 75% of attendance, the day would be excused as a snow day.

Staying Healthy

Of the confirmed COVID-19 cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to people being severely ill and on the verge of death. Symptoms include fever and common respiratory complications including shortness of breath, coughing, breathing difficulties, and in some severe cases, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome. 

Standard precautions to prevent further spread of the virus include regularly washing hands, thoroughly cooking eggs and meat, and covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Nonetheless, the best way to prevent contracting the virus is to avoid close proximity with anyone that may show signs of a respiratory illness.

Live updates on the Coronavirus’ location, status, and the current mortality rate are at this link: