Temple advises off-campus students to return home amid COVID-19 outbreak

Students were urged to practice social distancing as the pandemic spreads.

The Division of Student Affairs sent an email to students to remind them of the importance of social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, encouraging those who live off-campus to return home.

This email came after a Temple student tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday, The Temple News reported.

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus which was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It causes respiratory illnesses. The disease has since spread to dozens of countries, and on March 11, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus a pandemic.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a high fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that symptoms can be mild or severe and appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the disease.

“Clearly college students are not immune to this virus,” wrote Chris Carey, Senior Associate Dean of Students, in the email. “And yet, during this unprecedented time of a fast spreading global epidemic, leading to extraordinary measures being taken to protect the health and safety of all, some students have been engaging in behavior that is contrary to all current public health advice.”

There are eight cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia and 76 cases in the state, The Temple News reported. The United States has a total of 4,312 COVID-19 cases as of Monday evening, the New York Times reported

What to do if you are sick?
Stay home, avoid public areas and avoid public transportation if you feel sick. You should isolate yourself from people as much as possible and limit contact with pets and animals. You should call your doctor and schedule an apointment before visiting a doctor’s office, urgent care, etc. You or your doctor should alert a health department of your illness.
If you are sick, you should wear a facemask around other people. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water.

The failure to comply with social distancing is a threat to public health and safety, Carey wrote in the email.

 “If you have not yet returned home, or don’t plan to do so, please make sure that you are not engaging in behavior like hosting or attending parties that will put you, your peers, and your families and communities at higher risk for the spread of COVID-19,” Carey wrote. 

The Trump administration advised against gathering in groups of more than 10 people on Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advises the practice of social distancing in communities where COVID-19 is spreading. 

What can you do prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The virus is mainly spread from person to person. This includes between people have been within six feet of each other or through respiratory droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes. To limit the spread, avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 perecent alcohol. If you cough or sneeze, wash your hands immediately after.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean high-touch surfaces, like tabletops, doorknobs, toilets, keyboards and tablets. Use a household cleaner to disinfect the surfaces.

“Please do your part to protect the health and safety of the Temple community as well as your friends and families,” Carey wrote.

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