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Ontario schools tell parents not to discriminate against Chinese people amidst coronavirus

School boards are reminding parents not to discriminate against Chinese students and parents amidst social panic surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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School boards are reminding parents not to discriminate against Chinese students and parents amidst social panic surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus.

York Regional Schoolboard reminded more than 9,000 parents and Toronto community members who had signed a petition to not allow students whose families had travelled to China in the past 17 days to attend class that their concerns could potentially be xenophobic against Chinese communities.

The petition, created by an iPetitions user Erjun Li, went on to outline the petition and shared concerns about how contagious the virus is.

"Symptoms like fever, sore throat, sneezing are marked as the indicators to isolate infected individuals. However, during the incubation period, victim of the coronavirus is still highly infective even no signs of symptoms being observed," the petition reads. "Secondary transmission outside of China is a significant factor behind the WHO's decision to announce or not announce a global PHEIC. On January 23rd there was one secondary transmission case reported in Vietnam, which indicates that this virus is very contagious...

"York region has a large Chinese-Canadian population. There were a lot of people travelling to China before or during the Chinese New Year. We cannot be overly cautious in protecting our children."

In response, the school board noted that they were taking precautions, but we're staying vigilant to ensure their precautions didn't veer into discrimination.

“We are aware of an escalated level of concern and anxiety among families of Chinese heritage,” the Globe and Mail reported the school board sent in a letter. "Individuals who make assumptions, even with positive intentions of safety, about the risk of others, request or demand quarantine can be seen as demonstrating bias and racism.”

The top reported ethnic origin in York is Chinese.

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