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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

What is a novel coronavirus?  

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. 

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?  

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. 

Current CDC guidance for when it is okay to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements: 

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. 
  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough. 
  • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart. 
  • Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others. 

How does it spread?  

  • Droplet/fomites.  Airborne spread has not been reported.   
  • Person-to-person spread 
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. 
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). 
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. 

How easily does the virus spread? 

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some 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. 

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?  

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom. 

It may be possible that a person can 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. 

Who is it affecting?  

Mostly older patients and those with comorbidities having a more severe course.  Likely under detected in younger patients due to the low complication rate in these patients. See kids under #10 below. 

What are the symptoms? 

Based on 55,924 lab confirmed cases symptoms were seen as follows: 

- Fever (88%) 

- Dry cough (67%) 

- Fatigue (38%) 

- Sputum production (33%) 

- Short of breath (18%) 

- Sore throat (14%) 

- Headache (13%) 

- Muscle/joint aches (15%) 

- Chills (11%) 

- Nausea/vomiting (5%) 

- Stuffy nose (5%) 

- Diarrhea (4%) 

- Coughing up blood (1%) 

Can I travel? 

The CDC has travel advisories for COVID-19. These can change as new information becomes available. Before you start a trip, check CDC’s travel information for the most current advice. 

How can I keep myself from getting sick with COVID-19? 

  • 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.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with sick people or animals.  
  • Stay home when you are sick.  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you frequently touch.  
  • Avoid non-essential travel to regions listed in CDC travel advisories . 

It is also important to keep your body resilient: 

  • Eat a healthy diet. 
  • Exercise. 
  • Get plenty of rest. 

Should I wear a mask to protect myself? 

There is little evidence that masks limit exposure or decrease risk of illness when used in the public setting. They might lead to a false sense of security and make people less likely to take other, more effective measures to decrease risk of infection.  

Masks do appear to be useful when they are worn by people who are ill to limit the spread of virus when the ill person coughs or sneezes.  

Learn more from CDC:  

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

How to protect yourself 

What is Virginia Union University doing about the coronavirus? 

Virginia Union University is continuing to monitor updates about coronavirus. We are working with Capital Area Health Network (CAHN), our University-based healthcare provider, and following the recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health(VDH) as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

All activities for the month of March have been cancelled to ensure that our students, faculty and staff are safe.  We are also in the process of sanitizing the entire campus with the recommended products suggested by the CDC.   

If you need further information, please contact our information center @ 804-257-5673 or 804-257-5733 during the hours of 10:00am – 8:00pm.  You can also visit our website at and your social media accounts (IG, FB, Twitter) for updated information.   

Has Spring Break been extended? 

Spring break has been extended through the week of March 16 – 20, 2020. During this week, the university faculty/staff will work to enhance our teaching and learning modalities to facilitate remote course delivery and virtual student engagement experiences.  

Do I have to stay remain off campus? 

All students are encouraged to remain off-campus through March 20, 2020. In collaboration with the Division of Enrollment Management, we will provide more detailed instruction on how students may access their personal belongings (if necessary). For students who remain on campus, all university services will remain consistent as they have been throughout spring break. We strongly encourage residential students to utilize all electronic communications with community directors and resident assistants. 

 When will classes resume? 

Course instruction will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020. All students are expected to engage in all aspects of teaching and learning as indicated on and/or via direct communications from your professors. All professors are expected to contact students, and record student attendance (or participation). This means that ALL students are expected to adhere to the instructions as outlined by each course.  

Can I still have my event during March? 

Through March 31, 2020, all student activities have been suspended. The Division of Student Development will communicate with all student organizations to develop a comprehensive virtual experience. We strongly encourage students to engage with our team to ensure that we employ strategies that meet student expectations. 

Will the University turn students away that return to campus after the original Spring Break date? 

The campus will not turn anyway away from returning but we will ask that you take certain precautions and educational resources that will be provided.  You will also be asked a series of questions regarding your spring break travel. 

 Will the cafe remain open for students that remain on campus? 

Thompson Hospitality will remain open to serve students.  They will supply take-out services if the student does not want to remain in the cafe for meals.  The staff is also wiping down tables, chair and counter tops every 15 minutes to conceal the spread of the coronavirus with the recommended product by the CDC.  

Can students be given supplies to clean their residence room? 

Yes, the University will supply anyone with the necessary cleaning supplies to clean their residence room.  We are encouraging all students to sanitize their spaces.  

Will I get a refund for room and board?  

No, refunds will not be given for room and board. 

Will I get a refund for tuition?  

No, refunds will not be given for tuition. 

I can’t move home. Can I stay on campus?  

While we understand everyone has different situations, this will be evaluated on a case by case by basis. 

Can I leave my belongings in my residence hall? 

 Yes, you will be allowed to leave your belongings in your residence room. 

Will I still be able to graduate in May? 

Yes. Course instruction will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020. All students are expected to engage in all aspects of teaching and learning as indicated on and/or via direct communications from your professors. Of course we will continue to monitor the coronavirus and keep you updated.