A Ladysmith private school with an enrollment of more than 70 students from around the world has taken extra measures to reduce risks to students and the public. It also keeps students in touch with family in their home countries to let them know they are safe.

North Cedar Academy, which operates in the school and dormitory buildings on the former North Cedar Academy has a small number of students and staff from China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the state after announcing it had 15 people under investigation. Thirteen were negative for the disease, and one case is still pending.

Governor Tony Evers and DHS Secretary designee Andrea Palm emphasized the risk to the general public is very low.

North Cedar Academy currently does not have enrolled any students from Wuhan, China, according to NCA Director Don Smith. It does have a small group of less than 20 students and employees from China, he said.

Early on school officials sent a very thorough email to all parents regarding steps being taken to be sure there is no current risk to students regarding the coronavirus. The email also included what steps would be taken if any students displayed symptoms of the virus or flu-like symptoms in general.

A couple of parents responded with some questions but there were few concerns of note, according to Smith.

“We are monitoring closely those students who returned to NCA on international flights at the end of our Winter Break,” Smith said. “We are happy that none of the students have shown any flu-like symptoms.

“We worry more about students getting the flu period, as they the chances for exposure to the flu is so much higher here than coronavirus, so we are always reminding students to take step to prevent the spread of germs,” Smith said. “We have an excellent nurse, and she monitors the students and employees carefully.”

Smith added right now there are no students at the academy showing signs of any flu-like symptoms.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. Seven different coronaviruses, that scientists know of, can infect people and make them sick. Some human coronaviruses were identified many years ago and some have been identified recently. Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide.

Coronaviruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels and bats. Rarely, these coronaviruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans. Recent examples of this include SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

Most coronaviruses infect animals, but not people. In the future, one or more of these other coronaviruses could potentially evolve and spread to humans, as has happened in the past.

NCA students, especially those who are from China, are very aware of the virus, according to Smith.

“[They] continue to follow updates from reliable news sources on the internet and television,” Smith said. “More importantly, most of our international students talk to their parents almost daily on [social media] so they are closely in touch with their families and friends at home.”

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