Coronavirus scare: Petition to cancel classes at Alhambra schools gains traction amid global outbreak

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (KABC) -- A new online petition is gaining momentum to cancel classes for the Alhambra Unified School District until the coronavirus outbreak ends worldwide.

The call to cancel classes was posted on Change.org, where it garnered nearly 14,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.

Though it is unclear who created the petition, it appears to be written by a student.

"At school, students would have a higher chance to get infected and would have less focus in class knowing there is a disease that is potentially 5 or 10 minutes away from entering our lungs. Studying while knowing that your life is in danger does not create a stable and safe learning environment and would make students take their mind off of studying which is a necessity to test scores," the petition states.

However, there is no immediate threat to students or the school district, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Health officials say there have been no confirmed cases in the San Gabriel Valley.

The school district released a statement Jan. 27, stating in part: "Los Angeles residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene as this is the height of flu season across the County."

The petition also called for students, faculty and staff to wear protective face masks.

"Wearing theses masks would protect students and others from receiving or transmitting the sickness. I believe that in an environment such as school would maximize the spread of the virus, but by wearing masks students would at least be able to protect themselves. from inhaling the virus."

However, health officials across the U.S. are not recommending that the general public wear a face mask to protect themselves from the coronavirus as there have only been a handful of reported cases in the country and the chance that the general public will be exposed to the virus is very minimal.

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There have been six cases of the new coronavirus that originated in central China confirmed in California, including one case each in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Officials said there would be additional nurses at Alhambra High School to inform and comfort students.

The city of Alhambra canceled its Lunar New Year celebration, one of the biggest events of the year for the Chinese community, amid coronavirus fears.

The decision to nix last week's event affected thousands of celebrants and hundreds of vendors.
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