Over the past few weeks, we have observed a growing public-health concern regarding the Coronavirus or (COVID-19).
All Gracie Barra Schools around the World are and will remain committed to providing the highest level of Jiu-Jitsu instruction in a healthy and safe environment.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus as 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, we have 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 team as well as the identification of best practices in ensuring each school maintained the highest level of cleaning standards.
As we learned more about COVID-19, it became clear that our schools 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)?
The first case of human contamination by the Coronavirus happened in Wuhan, China, and has been spreading globally since December of 2019. It is threatening because it is new, it is contagious, and there is no vaccine or precise treatment plan yet.
The current data coming in from over 100,000 cases around the World has shown that the coronavirus symptoms and health risks are very similar to influenza (Flu).
The following is an interesting comparison of the Flu and the Coronavirus made by Johns Hopkins Medicine:
COVID-19: Approximately 107,644 cases worldwide; 437 occurrences in the U.S. as of March 8th, 2020.
Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.
COVID-19: Approximately 3,653 deaths reported worldwide; 17 deaths in the U.S., as of March 8th, 2020.
Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.
Much like the Flu, the Coronavirus brings a more serious health risk to elders or individuals with respiratory disease. Eighty percent of the individuals who contract the Coronavirus only experience mild symptoms and recover quickly. The data also indicates that healthy children are the least vulnerable to this new virus.
With a Gracie Barra 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 spread 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 Coronavirus. Additionally, there are things you can do to raise the level of awareness on 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 learned 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, and mouth. 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 immunity systems, and of course, keep training!
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 class. Lastly, only put on your uniform after you enter the school premises.
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 look for a doctor in case the symptoms get worse or don’t go away.
TRAVELING FROM AFFECTED AREAS – If you have been in touch or have traveled from areas affected by the Coronavirus, avoid contact with others for a few days, observe cold or Flu symptoms, and seek medical advice if needed.
What is Gracie Barra Doing?
As a global organization with close to 850 locations in the five continents, 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:
RAISE AWARENESS – Knowledge is power. We are deploying a global communication plan to reach each one of our schools around the World. Our goal is to empower GB Owners, Instructors, staff, students, and parents by sharing the most updated information about the Coronavirus and effective preventive measures they must take to maintain a healthy and safe training environment.
TRAINING HYGIENE – We require all team members 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. Students will be asked to only dress-up on their uniforms after entering the premises of the school. We will also be reminding all team members about the obligation to wash their uniforms after class.
EXTRA CLEANING – Since there is research that suggests that the Coronavirus may live on surfaces for hours, all mat space, restrooms, front desk space, couches, and other high traffic areas of the schools must be cleaned multiple times a day after classes. These areas must be 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 anyone is sick, he or she will be required to return home immediately and remain at home until fully recovered.
As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we will be regularly communicating with our schools, professors, coaches, and students, offering updated guidance based on new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, CDC, and local health authorities.
Keep training hard; don’t be afraid or paranoid but also don’t be indifferent to the risks. Stay off the mats if you know that you might be a carrier until you are clear.
We must continue to work together as a team and in collaboration with health departments. We must remain engaged to slow down the spread of this or any other disease to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment.