UWG will move to online instruction for the rest of the semester. Please view this communication for more information and return to this page soon for updates.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remain the University of West Georgia’s top priority. Campus leaders, including health experts, emergency management personnel and others, are closely monitoring the evolving Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and the potential effects to campus.
This page was last updated Thursday, March 26, 2020.
For the Most Recent Information, Visit These Sources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Georgia Department of Public Health
- The University System of Georgia
What You Should Know:
- The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2,” and the disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
- UWG has extensive expertise and systems in place to monitor and address possible infectious diseases, and our university has comprehensive plans to address emergencies, including infectious disease. The Student Health Center has procedures in place for contagious severe illnesses and is prepared.
- The University System of Georgia and its institutions will not approve travel to any country listed with a travel health notice of Level 3 or higher according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes spring semester study abroad, conferences, and research travel. Summer study abroad programs and travel should continue to be assessed with contingency plans in case the current levels remain in place. Further guidance will be distributed as circumstances dictate. For details on the advisories, visit the State Department’s website and the CDC’s website. For an up-to-date list of countries at Levels 1-5, please go to the CDC website on travel information.
- To reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, all patients arriving at the UWG Student Health Center with cough, sneezing, sore throat, fever, and respiratory issues will be asked to provide a travel history to determine if they are at risk for the newly identified coronavirus. We are also mindful of the increased stress caused by the situation.
What You Should Do:
- For all students, faculty, and staff, if you are traveling in any capacity (either internationally or domestically) – through UWG or on personal travel – we encourage you to register your travel through the UWG Spring 2020 Travel Registry so that we can keep you up-to-date on the evolving public health situation in regard to COVID-19.
- Take general precautions like frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of any virus, including seasonal flu, which is still active across Georgia and the U.S.
- Students showing symptoms should schedule an appointment with the UWG Student Health Center by calling 678-839-6452. All others, please contact your community healthcare provider.
- International students, especially those from countries impacted by COVID-19, should:
- Exercise proactive measures around planned spring and summer travel. Specifically, students should monitor airline service and immigration policy updates, and consider alternative plans if warranted.
- Contact UWG’s International Student Admissions & Programs if you have questions related to potential visa and immigration status implications and with any other questions or concerns.
- Students with spring or summer academic-related travel plans (i.e. study abroad, research, conferences, etc.) to countries impacted by COVID-19 should begin proactive conversations with their faculty and academic departments to determine appropriate planning.
Latest Guidance from DPH for Recent Travelers:
- The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) considers an individual traveling from a country with active community transmission within the previous 14 days a risk factor for COVID-19.
- Students and staff returning from areas with active community transmission may have been exposed to COVID-19 and must self-monitor symptoms at home for 14 days after leaving the affected area, which is consistent with the CDC's current guidance for returning travelers.
- If the traveler (or someone who has had contact with the traveler from affected areas)
develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
within their 14-day monitoring period, should take the following steps:
- Separate themselves from others as much as possible. Immediately notify DPH at 1-866-782-4584.
- If they experience an urgent health situation, seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell staff about recent travel and symptoms.
- Restrict travel to private vehicles or medical transport (e.g., ambulance). No public transportation while sick.
What is a coronavirus?
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives, according to the CDC. These illnesses usually last for a short time.
The new coronavirus can cause mild illness that can be overcome, but more severe cases can be life-threatening. The people more likely to get very sick from the virus are those over the age of 65, having underlying diseases such as bad heart or lung disease, liver or kidney disease, have cancer or are immunocompromised. The CDC has classified the risk as a “serious public health threat,” but it says the immediate health risk to the general American public is “considered low at this time.” The World Health Organization has declared the new coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (known as COVID-19)?
Reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. According to the CDC, symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
How do coronaviruses spread?
According to the CDC, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. When person-to-person spread has occurred, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes similar to how influenza spreads but can also be spread from contact with contaminated surfaces (handles, counters, light switches, etc.).
Does UWG have a plan if COVID-19 begins spreading rapidly in the U.S.?
UWG has a number of comprehensive plans in place to address emergencies, including those resulting from infectious disease. Health-related plans result from in-depth exchanges between the Student Health Center in conjunction with UWG Emergency Management. UWG personnel are in regular contact with the CDC, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and county health districts and would continue this communication throughout any implementation of the plan.
Should I be tested for the new coronavirus?
According to the CDC, if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath within 14 days after travel from any affected country or area with active community transmission, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your symptoms and recent travel. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. At this time, diagnostic testing for COVID-19 can be conducted only at CDC.
I am concerned. What precautions can I take?
It is flu and respiratory disease season. Health experts encourage everyone to get their flu vaccine. Typical, but very effective, tips like washing your hands, covering your cough, keeping your hands away from your face, and staying home when you are sick can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.