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Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is a new virus that causes respiratory illness—it is considered a “novel” virus because it has only recently been discovered. Since it is not yet fully understood by public health experts, we must take extra precautions to prevent its spread as more information and medical resources become available. The virus was first identified on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China; the first case was confirmed in the United States on January 21, 2020. 

Update: As of February 10, 2020, both Smith students referred to in the below emails have been cleared by medical staff and are no longer under isolation. 

Health Alert

Have you recently traveled to Hubei Province in China or to any other area identified by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as an area of concern?

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV

Fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, stuffy nose, difficulty breathing, severe weakness and pneumonia.

Symptoms may develop rapidly and be much more dramatic than a “typical" cold.

Faculty/Staff: If you have traveled in or through these areas of concern in the past 14 days and have any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care physician for medical instructions.

Students: If you have traveled in or through these areas of concern in the past 14 days and have any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care physician or Pelham Medical Service in the Schacht Center at 413-585-2250.

  • Stay in isolation until one of our nurses calls you back. Do not go to your office, attend class or go to any dining hall in order to limit risk of exposure to others.

  • Get help right away if your symptoms are severe and you feel very weak, have a hard time breathing or experience uncontrolled coughing. Call the Campus Police at 413-585-2490 or extension 800 from a campus phone.


Best Practices for Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

The best way to prevent the spread of colds, flu and other illness is to practice “Health Smart” behaviors as a general way of living and working in community with others.

  • Careful and frequent handwashing, especially after touching any commonly handled or shared items such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, faucets, railings on staircases or escalators, elevator buttons, and countertops. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.

  • Careful disinfecting and cleaning of frequently touched items such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, faucets, staircase or escalator railings, elevator buttons or countertops.

    • Routinely wipe down desks, phones, keyboards and counters in your department, office or house, especially if you share space.

  • Stay in bed if you are sick. Give yourself a chance to recover so you can succeed. We work and learn best when we feel strong and healthy. Avoid the temptation to “push through” because you will not only remain sicker longer, you’ll be more likely to infect others.

  • Share time, success and fun—not germs. Practice caution when sharing meals and good times with friends and family. Don’t share bites of food, sips of beverages, lip balm, water bottles, smoking materials or musical instruments with mouthpieces.

  • Avoid close contact with others if they appear ill or if you are ill. Staying 3- to 6- feet away from others can help prevent the spread of most illnesses.

    • If you can’t stay home, wear a mask in public if you are coughing, sneezing and/or congested with a runny or stuffy nose. You can also wear a mask to prevent yourself from becoming ill. This is a common practice in other countries during cold and flu season. Do not assume that someone wearing a mask is sick and/or contagious. Sometimes people wear masks to stay healthy themselves or to prevent passing illnesses to families and friends. People with compromised immune systems, new babies or elder family members must be especially careful to avoid illness.

  • Proper Rest, Nutrition and Hydration. Your body needs strength to heal when you are sick or exposed to illness. Help your immune system work better by following these principles:

    • Drink plenty of water, at least eight big glasses daily (1.5 liters). You should not feel thirsty. You should feel the urge to urinate at least three times a day, and your urine should be pale yellow. The darker your urine, the more water you should try to drink, especially if you are sick.

    • Eat balanced, colorful meals with protein, fruit and vegetables. If most of the food on your plate is beige or white, you could probably use more protein, fruits and vegetables!

    • Get extra rest. Travel, back-to-school time, busy schedules and changes can be stressful for your body and mind. Take time to relax quietly and nap.

    • Don’t smoke or vape.

For further information, read the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog on preparing for a healthy college life, and check out their list of healthy habits to help prevent the flu.

Helpful Links

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources