Original published date: March 13, 2020 – 7:00 pm
Dear students and parents of our students,
Over the past few days, we have observed a growing public-health concern regarding the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19.
We are, and will remain, committed to providing the highest level of Jiu-Jitsu instruction in a healthy and safe environment. As of now, we have no immediate plans to close our school, however, if the virus should spread through our region, we will have to consider this option.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus is a global concern, we have been researching preventative guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, Gracie University Headquarters has been in close communication with health care providers and local public health authorities to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the highest level of safety to both: our students and instructors.
Initially, we aimed to gain a better understanding of the Coronavirus and the potential threats the virus may pose to our students as well as the identification of best practices in ensuring our school maintained the highest level of cleaning standards.
As we learned more about COVID-19, it became clear that our school must not only implement every preventive measure possible but must also serve as a source of information to create more awareness about this virus and its potential risks.
What have we learned about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
It is widely accepted in the medical community that the first human case of the Novel Coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China, and has been spreading globally since December of 2019. It is concerning because it is a new strain in the family of Coronaviruses that is showing a very high rate of transmission (R0 Value) for which we have no vaccine.
The current data coming in from over 100,000 cases around the world has shown that the novel Coronavirus symptoms and health risks can be mild in most cases, however, the burden of a significant number of cases requiring medical interventions can be a growing burden on an already taxed health care system.
Medical researchers are clear that Novel Coronavirus brings a more serious health risk to elders, immunocompromised individuals, those with respiratory disease and/or preexisting health conditions. The medical community agrees that approximately eighty percent of the individuals who contract the virus only experience mild symptoms and recover quickly. The data also indicates that healthy children are the least vulnerable to this new virus.
With our student population built primarily by children and adults ranging from 25 to 45 years of age, the risk of severe health complications is not a concern. What is a concern is how quickly the Coronavirus can be transmitted if proper procedures are not put in place. Recent evidence suggests that the virus may live on certain surfaces at room temperature for several days which makes it imperative that proper cleaning and disinfecting occur on a regular basis.
What can you do?
There are many things you can do as an individual to help prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Additionally, there are things you can do to raise the level of awareness of this virus, reduce unnecessary fear, and create a level of engagement directed at the prevention of the illness with those closest to you.
BE SMART – Stay informed, be aware of risks, but don’t panic. Use the discipline you learn in Jiu-Jitsu to create enhanced personal hygiene routines in your life. Wash your hands frequently, wash your uniform, and take a shower after practice, avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and practice responsible respiratory etiquette. The CDC has put together an excellent website with plenty of information on the Coronavirus www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
STAY HEALTHY – This is a crucial time to make your health a priority and do all you can to boost your immunity. This means eat well, sleep well, consider taking additional supplements to boost your immune system.
TRAINING HYGIENE – To protect yourself and your training partners, make sure to sanitize your hands when entering the school before shaking anyone’s hands or touching anything. Instructors and staff will require all students to sanitize their hands before and after every class.
BE A GOOD TEAMMATE – If you are feeling under the weather, if you are coughing or sneezing, if you have a mild fever, headache, or any other cold / flu-like symptoms, take a break from Jiu-Jitsu. Stay home, rest, eat well and see a doctor in case the symptoms worsen. Remember, if you must miss training, you can log on to GracieUniversity.com and watch the lessons you’re missing through your CTC Family Member account. If you need help accessing your account, just let us know.
TRAVELING FROM AFFECTED AREAS – If you have been in contact with someone who has travelled internationally or you, yourself, have recently traveled internationally, avoid contact with others for the recommended 14 days, observe cold or flu symptoms, and seek medical advice if needed.
What are we doing?
We are focusing on implementing all preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization, the CDC, and local public health departments. Some of our actions include:
RAISING AWARENESS – Knowledge is power. Our goal is to empower students, and parents by sharing the most updated information about the Coronavirus and effective preventative measures they must take to maintain a healthy and safe training. environment.
TRAINING HYGIENE – We require all students and staff to sanitize their hands when entering the school before shaking hands or touching anything. Instructors and staff will be requiring all students to sanitize their hands before class. We will also be reminding all team members about the obligation to wash their uniforms after class. Remember, always use footwear when going to the restroom.
EXTRA CLEANING – Since there is research that suggests that the Coronavirus may live on surfaces for days, all mat space, restrooms, front desk space, couches, and other high traffic areas, handles, and surfaces of the schools are being cleaned multiple times a day before and after classes. These areas are cleaned with appropriate disinfectants or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
SCREENING – Screening protocols will be implemented at the beginning of work shifts and before classes. If any employee or student appears sick or is visually displaying flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, fever, headache, or any other cold /flu-like symptoms, they will be required to immediately leave the training areas and self-isolate at home until fully recovered.
As the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we will be regularly communicating with our students to offer updated guidance based on new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, CDC, and local health authorities.
Keep training, don’t be afraid or panicked but also don’t be indifferent to the risks. Stay off the mats if you are not feeling well or suspect that you might be a carrier, until you are deemed healthy.
We must continue to work together as a team and in collaboration with our local health departments. We must remain engaged to slow down the transmission of this or any other disease to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
JC and Jess Coakley.