University-Wide Email Sent Regarding Flu, Staying Healthy

Student Health Services recommends precautions following coronavirus outbreak


On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Mason community received an email from Student Health Services (SHS) and Safety, Emergency, & Enterprise Risk Management detailing the coronavirus outbreak in China and recommended precautions to prevent sickness on campus. 

The coronavirus, a contagious respiratory infection, broke out in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, “Common human coronaviruses … usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold.” Symptoms may include a runny nose, cough and fever. 

Recently, the virus has been confirmed in the U.S., Europe and Australia. In China, the death toll has risen to 41 people. 

The virus has spread to other parts of the country and many cities have been quarantined. The CDC is monitoring the outbreak. 

CDC and local Virginian health departments deem American risk of contracting the virus to be low, but students are advised to take precautions. 

SHS recommends that students, “Guard against all communicable diseases by washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, decreasing stress, and limiting or eliminating the use of tobacco products.” 

Adhering to these healthy practices will aid in the prevention of specific illnesses such as the coronavirus as well as more typical cases of influenza. 

The email urges students to “remain out of class, away from work, and avoid others for the duration of the illness and for 24 hours after” if they are experiencing symptoms of a communicable disease. 

On Sunday, Jan. 26, SHS and Safety, Emergency, & Enterprise Risk Management sent another email to students stating that there are reports regarding a Mason student who has shown symptoms similar to that of the coronavirus. 

This email stated that “the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) issued a statement confirming three residents in the Commonwealth who meet the criteria for testing for possible infection with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.” No specific information is being provided on the patients in order to protect confidentiality.    

The email explained that these symptoms are possibly due to the cold or flu and not the coronavirus, but that any Mason community members or Northern Virginia resident should exercise precautions in order to prevent the spread of communicable disease. 

If you are experiencing a fever with or without respiratory symptoms call 703-993-2831 to speak with a nurse or seek medical care.