5 Tips on How Tutors Can Prevent Coronavirus Infection
Tutoring can be a very rewarding career, but as anyone who works with the public knows, it can also be an easy way to spread germs. Tutors have a unique position because, unlike teachers, we are often working one on one with students, and we may have more physical contact. This doesn’t imply teachers are never in one on one situations, but tutors find themselves with small groups or individuals for their entire day. The physical proximity alone can increase the risk of infection anytime colds and flus are prevalent. Currently, Singapore is seeing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The prospect of contracting the novel coronavirus can be very frightening given the grim outlook many news sources portray.
The coronavirus has received much media attention as of late. While it is a virus that must be taken seriously, steps may be taken to minimize your risk of contracting the virus. Many news outlets are reporting that there is no cure, but one must remember that there’s no cure for the common cold either. While this virus has a risk of death, there’s no need to live in fear.
Tutors in Singapore work in close proximity to students and schools are often breeding grounds for illnesses. Singapore has seen it’s fair share of cases of the novel coronavirus and this should make tutors take note and learn to take necessary precautions to protect not only themselves, but also their students. In order to take these precautions, tutors and students must first understand what myths are out there and then understand what works best in preventing infection.
Five Myths of the Novel Coronavirus
- Spraying yourself with chlorine or alcohol can kill the virus. While alcohol and chlorine may be used to clean surfaces, your skin is not one of those surfaces. Alcohol and chlorine can harm the skin and will not protect against any virus that has already entered the body.
- The pneumonia vaccine or Hib vaccine can protect against coronavirus.1 While these vaccines protect against the illnesses they suggest, they cannot protect against the novel coronavirus.
- Natural remedies such as saline nasal flushes, sesame oil, garlic, and others are effective in killing the coronavirus.1 No, while some of these things may help keep you healthy/ be a part of a health regimen, they are not effective for this virus. This doesn’t mean not to continue your routine, but it does mean you will not be protected from this virus.
- Ultraviolet lights or hand dryers will be effective in killing the virus.1 This isn’t proven to be the case in any scientific study.
- Wearing gloves or masks is necessary at all times.  While you could, this is not practical, nor is it necessary.
Each of these myths are developed from something true. It becomes easy to confuse the lines between real and false advice. For this reason, it is necessary to determine, as tutors, what you can do to protect yourselves. Many tutoring sessions require sitting in close proximity for extended periods of times. Tutoring also means that we sometimes share equipment or resources. Computers, pens, paper, markers, and other materials may be handled by multiple people.
While papers and certain supplies cannot be cleaned with each use, we can wipe down surfaces, wash our hands and keep our hands from our eyes and mouths between washings. If you are a tutor, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself and your students from infection. Here are five tips to protect yourself.
Five tips to protect yourself from novel coronavirus:
- Wash your hands frequently. This tip is given on almost every medical website for protecting yourself from almost every virus out there. It is one of the most important tasks we can complete in preventing the spread of illness. Be sure to properly wash your hands any time you visit the restroom, touch surfaces that could harbor viruses or bacteria, handle food, or share supplies with a student. Washing hands upon entering the building, tutoring space, or classroom.
- Know the signs2. Have a stuffy nose? Is this the novel coronavirus or just a cold? Symptoms generally begin with dry cough and fever.  These are not the only symptoms, but if you have a fever, you should stay home. Many students and school employees have been placed on a leave of absence or quarantine order in order to heal or isolate themselves after possible infection. If you suspect you or someone else has symptoms, avoid contact, and wear protective clothing until you may isolate yourself from further potential infection. One tip from The Straits Times suggests that you keep a 1 metre distance. However, as tutors, this is sometimes not possible. Be vigilant. If you see symptoms and do not feel comfortable continuing, let your student know. Offer to reschedule or hold a remote session online or via phone.
- Monitor your symptoms and health. If you are not feeling well, use a mask, gloves, or other protective clothing. You may also choose to end a session or reschedule. If your agency allows, you may set online or phone sessions if you or your student is not feeling well.
- Monitor student behavior. If your student is not feeling well, feel free to assert your needs. Simply being in the same room won’t necessarily spread the virus, but if you get the virus in your mouth or eyes, you can spread the virus. If you fear the student is contagious, or he or she doesn’t appear well enough to continue, follow your agency’s protocol for cancelling or rescheduling the session.
- Clean your environment.2 Wipe tables with disinfecting wipes before and after each session. Use computer friendly wipes and cleaners to clean surfaces. Keep surfaces clean and free of debris. While the virus must enter the nose, eyes, or mouth, touching the virus can help it to transfer. Cleaning these surfaces will keep the virus at a minimum.
Remember, you are the first line of defense in keeping yourself healthy. If you aren’t feeling well, or feel uncomfortable continuing, stop the session.
 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters. (2020). Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
 Keep your hands clean and carry on: 25 questions about the coronavirus answered. (2020, Feb 16). Retrieved from The Straights Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/keep-your-hands-clean-and-carry-on
 Gallagher, J. (2020, February 17). Coronavirus: What are the symptoms and how do I protect myself? Retrieved from BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51048366