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COVID-19 Update: March 3, 2020

COVID-19 Updates | 03.03.2020

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is actively monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). SMWC convened a task force of college administrators and healthcare experts to respond to guidelines and implement recommendations made by government and public health agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please refer to the CDC website.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus 2019 or 2019-nCoV) is a new type of coronavirus causing respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus has spread to other countries including the United States.

What are the symptoms?

COVID-19 can cause mild flu-like symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, may appear 2-14 days after exposure. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately and avoid contact with others.

How is COVID-19 spread?

It can spread from person-to-person and by coming in contact with infected surfaces and objects.

  • Person-to-person. The virus can be transmitted between people in close proximity with one another. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Infected surfaces or objects. A person can get COVID-19 by contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose and eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What prevention measures can be taken?

CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)


Consistent with travel warnings from the CDC, SMWC recommends travelers avoid China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong and Japan. All SMWC related and personal travel to these countries is discouraged. Please register your international travel – personal or college related travel – using the SMWC Travel Registry. The travel registry is the college’s official means for sharing urgent health, safety and security related information. While there are several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., no cases have been confirmed in Indiana. Beyond these travel restrictions, there is currently no recommendation for the general U.S. public to take additional precautions.

We encourage you to build in as much flexibility as possible into your plans as travel disruptions are possible. Please consider purchasing trip insurance in case last-minute changes or cancellations are needed. Be aware that if you travel internationally you may have difficulty returning to the United States.

This situation may rapidly change in the weeks ahead. SMWC encourages you to check U.S. Department of State and CDC websites to find updated guidance for travel destinations.

For further information or if you have questions, please contact any of the following campus offices: