Ontario school board warns that coronavirus concerns veer into anti-Chinese racism

An Ontario school board is urging parents to not make assumptions about the new coronavirus that could stoke xenophobia and racism against the Chinese community.

Officials with the York Region District School Board issued a letter Monday saying it was aware of escalated concern about the virus among families of Chinese heritage.

An online petition circulating among parents in the region north of Toronto, which has a large Chinese population, calls on schools to ask students whose families have recently travelled to China to stay home for 17 days of “self-quarantine.”

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The board chair and director of education wrote that such requests run the risk of “demonstrating bias and racism,” even when made in the name of safety.

There have been more than 4,500 cases of the new coronavirus in China, fuelling concerns about human-to-human transmission.

Canada’s top public health official said Monday that the risk to Canadians remains minimal after a second presumed positive case of the virus was discovered.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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