Coronavirus Information for Reinhardt University
March 3, 2020 – Reinhardt University officials continue to monitor updates from the Georgia Department of Public Health and other state and federal agencies related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mindful of our mission to support the health and safety of our community, we write to share updated international travel advice.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to monitor a novel strain of coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease causing the outbreak, COVID-19. Spread of coronavirus is correlated with circumstances of close and sustained contact with others who are infected.
The following frequently asked questions include information on the state of the virus on the Reinhardt University campus, an overview on the University’s actions to protect the health of the community and general information about the COVID-19 virus. To date, Student Health Center staff at Reinhardt have seen no suspected case of coronavirus or have identified no specific risk to any member of the Reinhardt community in Georgia.
Reinhardt University officials are proactively working with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Cherokee County Health Department to protect the health and well-being of our campus community.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and we will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. This resource page will be updated as new information emerges.
There are no confirmed or presumptive cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Reinhardt University campus. A confirmed case is one that has tested positive by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a presumptive case is one that has been tested positive by the Georgia Department of Public Health (local health officials send the sample to be tested by the CDC to confirm a diagnosis). No significant risks to the Reinhardt community have been identified, and the risk of COVID-19 in our area remains low. Medical professionals who lead Reinhardt’s Student Health Center are in constant and continuous communication with the Georgia and Cherokee County Departments of Public Health. In the event there were to be any changes in the medical and public health guidance Reinhardt is receiving, the University would communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps.
The health of the university community is a top priority; campus officials are monitoring reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), and also is coordinating with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Cherokee County Health Department. The University is following all guidelines and recommendations from local and national public health experts, who have the best understanding of how to carefully manage public health risks such as coronavirus.
The University Student Health Center is following guidelines from the CDC and has a procedure in place to survey all students feeling ill who have recently traveled, or exposure to someone who has recently traveled, as part of their medical assessment. The CDC’s guidance for the coronavirus that the Reinhardt is following is outlined here.
The Student Health Center encourages concerned community members to refer to the CDC’s coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information. We will continue to publish updates relevant to the Reinhardt community on the Student Health Center website.
The University's Executive Leadership Team and Emergency Operations Team is convening regularly to monitor this evolving public health situation and to ensure that appropriate plans are in place to protect the health of the Reinhardt campus community, should the need arise.
Since February, campus leaders and the Student Health Center staff have been actively coordinating with federal, state, and county health officials and monitoring national guidelines to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of the Reinhardt community.
Reinhardt’s Student Health Center is monitoring and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to ensure that its screening and response protocols remain fully aligned with the most current health care community recommendations.
Reinhardt’s Student Health Center sent an initial community advisory on coronavirus to all members of the University community on Feb. 10.
University leadership also is reviewing international student travel plans and evaluating study abroad trips.
Guided by recommendations from International SOS, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and the CDC, Reinhardt has been closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the COVID-19 virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Per Reinhardt’s policy and based on federal travel advisories, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea are currently considered restricted destinations.
While Reinhardt’s policies do not regulate personal and non-Reinhardt travel, all members of the community planning to travel internationally are strongly urged to carefully consider travel plans — especially if considering essential personal travel to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or Japan. Local quarantines in those countries are possible, numerous commercial flights have been canceled, and re-entry to the U.S. from some destinations will be very difficult, if not impossible, until further notice. It is important to keep updated with regard to potential travel restrictions and worldwide government measures related to COVID-19.
Similar to guidance for outbound travelers, Reinhardt follows advice from International SOS, the WHO and the CDC for individuals arriving in the U.S. after travel from China. Anyone traveling from China should allow for additional time at the airport for enhanced health screenings conducted by the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
In addition, on Friday, Jan. 31, the White House issued a “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.” Effective 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, temporary restrictions on travelers who have been “physically present” in mainland China (therefore excluding Hong Kong and Macau) are as follows:
- All foreign nationals “other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the United States for this time";
- U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei Province during the previous 14 days preceding their entry to the U.S. will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine upon return to the U.S.;
- U.S. citizens who have traveled in any other area within mainland China in the previous 14 days prior to arriving to the U.S. “will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring.”
Those restrictions went into effect with no assigned end date other than indicating that restrictions will "remain in effect until terminated by the President." It is set to be re-evaluated in 15 days and, if renewed, will continue to be re-evaluated every 15 days after that.
Reinhardt does not directly operate any study abroad programs in any of these locations.
Reinhardt sponsors study abroad programs in different countries each year. The 2019-20 academic year includes study abroad trips to Japan and Greece, which are scheduled for May 2020. Staff from Reinhardt will be in contact with students who intend to study abroad through these University-sponsored programs who have questions or concerns.
Status decisions on individual Reinhardt-operated programs are made on a case-by-case basis, guided by official recommendations from international and national agencies and by University policy. There are a number of factors Reinhardt takes into consideration when deciding to suspend or cancel a study abroad program. The University’s top priority is always mitigating risk to the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. Reinhardt consults with national and international agencies including the U.S. Department of State, the CDC and the World Health Organization, in addition to local government authorities. Should there be a need to suspend or cancel a program, staff from Reinhardt will be in contact with the students who intended to study abroad with Reinhardt.
Reinhardt fully appreciates the concerns that COVID-19 has prompted for many students and families, and health and safety remains the University’s top priority. Any student who elects to leave a program and return home is encouraged to contact the Provost’s Office for advice and assistance in considering the impact on their academic status.
While Reinhardt’s policies do not regulate personal and non-Reinhardt travel, all students planning to travel internationally are strongly urged to carefully consider plans — especially if considering essential personal travel to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy or Japan. Local quarantines in those countries are possible, numerous commercial flights have been canceled, and re-entry to the U.S. from some destinations will be very difficult, if not impossible, until further notice. All students should monitor travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State and the CDC, which continue to evolve rapidly.
In coordination with colleagues in a number of offices at Reinhardt, the Office of Admission is closely monitoring COVID-19 and recognizes the effect the outbreak has had on school activities and on prospective students from multiple countries.
With notifications on regular admissions decisions approaching in the coming weeks, all applicants for admission should be assured that they will not be penalized in the admissions process for circumstances outside of their control. Reinhardt will give full consideration to all applicants based on materials received.
Reinhardt will continue to monitor travel guidance from national and international agencies and to support all international students, including those who are newly enrolled and seeking to travel to campus for the academic year. The Office of Admission will offer guidance on matters related to student visas. Together, they will work with international students as they apply for visas and offer support in the context of all policies and guidance from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that caused cold and flu-like symptoms in mammals, including humans. On rare occasions, certain strains of coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms such as pneumonia.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. This specific strain has potential to cause more severe symptoms than its close relatives. To date, the majority of individuals that have suffered from severe complications of this new virus have been elderly or suffering from predisposing underlying chronic illness.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. Health officials suggest the virus could have originated in a large, open seafood and live animal market.
The virus probably originally emerged from an animal source, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization are reporting increasing numbers of the virus spreading person-to-person.
According to the CDC, for confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill. Symptoms can include:
- Fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.
Self-monitoring for symptoms of flu, social distance and – if directed by a health care professional – self-isolation are essential to disrupt the transmission of virus including the flu and COVID-19. Accordingly, all students, faculty and staff must take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by doing the following:
- If you do have a sore throat, fever, cough and body aches, you may have the flu. As always, students with symptoms of concern should call the Student Health Center at (770) 720-5542. Faculty and staff should consult with their local primary care provider. Stay out of class and home from work if you feel sick.
- Any Reinhardt community member with a combination of cough, shortness of breath or fever above 100.4 degrees and travel to countries with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 – China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea as of today – in the last 14 days or had close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, must be self-isolated and contact the Student Health Center (students) or a local provider (faculty and staff) by phone for further direction and before returning to campus.
Any Reinhardt community member who is not experiencing symptoms but has traveled to countries with widespread transmission (listed above as of today) or had close contact with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 must self-monitor for symptoms and consult with Student Health Center (students) or a local provider (faculty and staff) before returning to campus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can be very similar to other viral illnesses and influenza. At this time, there are no routine tests to see if you have novel coronavirus. If you have a sore throat, fever, cough and body aches, you may have the flu or other influenza like illness.
Students with these symptoms or other symptoms of concern should call the Student Heath Center at (770) 720-5542. Reinhardt faculty and staff should consult with their local primary care provider.
Individuals who have traveled to an impacted country in the past 14 days or have had close contact with someone confirmed to have or under examination for the coronavirus should closely monitor their health and follow the CDC’s guidelines if they start to feel ill.
While the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the U.S. is still very low, there are some general precautions you should always take during cold and flu season.
Influenza and similar viruses that cause colds are most prevalent at this time of year. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular handwashing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. It is not too late to get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading any germs or viruses to others. View a CDC video of proper handwashing techniques here.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to seek medical care.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Though individual risk for and response to infectious diseases varies, people living with autoimmune conditions may be at greater risk of infection or complications associated with COVID-19. If you are immunocompromised because of an illness or treatment, talk to your healthcare provider about whether wearing a mask is helpful for you in some situations and for other steps you should take to reduce your risks.
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
Reinhardt University is following guidelines and screening protocols from the CDC and the WHO. If someone you know has flu-like symptoms or you are concerned about their health, please encourage them seek advice and care form the Student Health Center at (770) 720-5542 or from their healthcare provider.
The University will continue to update this FAQs page as new or updated information is made available.
Reports of the impact of COVID-19 around the world can be troubling, especially for members of the community who are from or have friends and family in affected areas. Resources and support are available for students through the Student Health Center and for faculty and staff through the Office of Human Resources. The Campus Pastor can also offer support to any members or the Reinhardt community.