Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

In an effort to promote the health of the AIC community, we ask that you please read the following important information regarding coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The CDC has also provided this fact sheet, which outlines risks, symptoms, and preventive measures to help stave off the virus.

This concern is dynamic. AIC officials are monitoring and following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Public Health, and American College Health Association. Continuity planning remains ongoing and will be informed by the ever-changing nature of the situation. Everyone can do their part to keep the AIC community healthy by following the health and hygiene recommendations that are outlined in this communication.

What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

2019-nCoV, also referred to as COVID-19, is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in 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.

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Symptoms and transmission:

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Additional information is available on the CDC website.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Please check the CDC Travel Website and make an informed decision before traveling.

  • If you must travel:
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • 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.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel with their health care provider.


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.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of 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.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • 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.
  • Monitor your health daily for possible symptoms.

Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to Health Services, your doctor’s office, or the emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • AIC patients may call Health Services at (413) 205-3248. Health Services is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • If an emergency, please call Campus Police at (413) 205-3333.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel or use public transportation while sick.

AIC’s response to this public health concern:

  • To ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff, American International College has in place comprehensive reopening plans in adherence of local, state, and CDC guidelines.

    Click here to learn more.

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