Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Feb. 28, 2020

To: The W&L Community
From: Sidney Evans, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Subject: Coronavirus Update and February Break
Date: February 20, 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 was first identified in December during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in China, and limited spread among close contacts has been detected in some countries outside China, including the United States. At this time, however, this virus is NOT currently spreading in communities in the U.S. Right now, the greatest risk of infection is for people in China or people who have recently traveled to China.

Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected with COVID-19 are at greater risk of illness. Recent travelers to China and those individuals with possible exposure to people with COVID-19 infection are being closely monitored by public health authorities in the U.S. and abroad, to limit the risk of transmission.

The global situation is changing daily. We advise that if you are traveling outside the U.S. during the February break week that you check for updates frequently from the CDC and the World Health Organization. If you travel to an area of the world over break where the COVID-19 infection is spreading from person to person, or you have known contact with a person infected with COVID-19 during your travels, you can expect to be quarantined for up to 14 days after your return to watch for signs of infection. Please notify a University official and the Student Health Center BEFORE returning to campus if you may have been exposed to COVID-19 over the February break week. Faculty and staff should contact Mary Main, Executive Director of Human Resources. Law students should contact Trenya Mason, Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs. Undergraduate students should contact Sidney Evans, Vice-President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

There are simple everyday preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.