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Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

2019-nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, cases have been identified in multiple other countries including the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing.

Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency department, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. Please do not use public transportation or arrive unannounced.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
What is the treatment?

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. (source: CDC)

What is the difference between isolation & quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

Is there a vaccine?

Not at this time, although research that could lead to a vaccine is moving ahead quickly.

How do I mitigate my exposure to COVID-19?

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Currently, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading in the U.S., so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • 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.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as the grocery store) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html. Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 122 stating that everyone is now required by NJ State Law to “wear cloth face coverings while on the premises” of any retail establishment.

Ramapo College & Study Abroad

What changes has Ramapo College made to its international programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

The College withdrew all students studying abroad for the Spring 2020 semester, and suspended all Ramapo College, Faculty-Led programs through the Spring 2020 semester and Summer 2020.

In this world of quickly changing information, we understand that inaccurate information does sometimes emerge. We encourage you to return to this page for the latest information.

How does Ramapo College decide to cancel international programs due to COVID-19 related concerns?

When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues a Warning Level 3 – Avoid Nonessential Travel notice for a country, that country will automatically become restricted to travel. When this happens, all students registered for travel to that country will be notified of the restriction and all Ramapo managed international programs for that country will be cancelled. In addition, the Ramapo International Office will reach out to students individually about program cancellations and next steps.

Ramapo College may also cancel programs if travel disruptions or host country restrictions could prevent them from meeting the educational goals of the travel experience (regardless of whether or not the host country is under a Ramapo Travel Restriction).

As a student, what can I do to minimize the impact of a possible program cancellation?

Recognizing that the COVID-19 outbreak is fluid and unpredictable, Ramapo College encourages you to:

  • Consider your own personal comfort level when choosing an international experience.
  • Have a contingency plan in place. This may include identifying an alternate education abroad program or domestic experience (i.e. National Student Exchange) to pursue in case your program is cancelled. You may want to discuss contingencies with your academic advisor or the office managing your international experience.
  • Build financial flexibility into your travel plans by purchasing trip cancellation insurance.

If I am currently abroad on an international program and choose to return home on my own, how might my academic credit and finances be affected? 

Ramapo College understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary and that individuals may choose to leave programs that have not been cancelled. We respect these personal decisions. If you are considering returning home, talk with your host university or program provider to find out what options might be available for online learning or remote exams that could help you complete your coursework. If this is not an option, then it is critical that you reach out to the international office as soon as possible so that we can see what on-campus academic options may be available.

Does Ramapo College have any recommendations for faculty or staff traveling overseas on college-business?

They are required to follow Ramapo College guidance: https://www.ramapo.edu/international-travel/locations/, which includes avoiding all travel to countries under Ramapo College Travel Restriction (Level 4). Employees are also required to register their travel with Ramapo College (https://www.ramapo.edu/international-travel/faculty-and-staff/travel-registration/) so they can receive university communications, international insurance and updates specific to their location.