Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Due to statewide coronavirus concerns, Northern Kentucky University will extend its spring break one week before moving all instruction online starting March 23, the university announced Wednesday.
“Residence halls still will be open to students who were planning to return to campus on March 15,” wrote President Ashish Vaidya in an email to students and staff. “When classes resume on Monday, March 23, they will proceed through our alternative platforms. Students should watch for emails with details about the transition to the online format and adjustments to clinicals, labs or other necessary requirements for course completion."
Currently, NKU remains open and will continue “normal university operations.” All non-essential events with 150 attendants or more will be canceled through the end of the semester. Other events will be reviewed on an “individual basis.”
Final exams and spring commencement will remain as scheduled, and the university is monitoring the situation "to determine if this should change."
All university-sponsored international travel will be suspended, and travelers returning from “Level 3 countries” must self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the U.S. before they can return to campus.
Domestic travel will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
"This is a rapidly evolving situation, and NKU’s Coronavirus Preparedness Team, led by Provost Sue Ott Rowlands, is monitoring the latest developments around the international and national outbreak of the Coronavirus," Vaidya wrote.
So far, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus/COVID-19 at NKU or in Northern Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency this week, and there are currently eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 45 countries across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.