Communicating with students and parents is key to ensuring safety on campus
The 2019-nCoV, or coronavirus, is what’s known as an emerging infection. This means that it’s different than what we’ve seen before, and we don’t know much about it. That can be troubling for some people. It can be scary for parents or students to hear news stories about widespread infection, particularly when the infection may have severe outcomes. Right now, only a small portion of infected persons have serious illness.
Since the 2019-nCoV is in the same family of viruses as SARS, people might worry that a similar global pandemic might occur. A pandemic is an ongoing outbreak that occurs on two or more continents. Public health officials are actively taking measures to minimize disease spread. Although the virus has spread to other countries, including the United States, the illness is not widespread outside of China.
There is concern about disease spread, but so far, all U.S. cases have been travel-related: Only people who have recently traveled to China or have had close contact with infected people are at high risk. We don’t know much about how easily the virus spreads, but usually, people without symptoms are not the primary source for disease transmission.