Staying Healthy at MCAD: An Update on COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”)

Dear MCAD Community:

You are likely aware of the heightened news coverage about the COVID-19 virus, its rapid spread across areas in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and the emerging cases in this country. While we are not anticipating an impact on our MCAD community, we want to be proactive, careful, and prepared. To address any concerns that you may have, the MCAD leadership team is closely monitoring new developments. Additionally, principle members of MCAD’s Emergency Operating Plan (EOP) are doing extensive planning should this virus directly impact our region or more specifically our institution.

In order to keep everyone safe and up to speed on the latest information, we will continue to send out updates as often as needed via email and on our website. Students who have concerns or need assistance, please contact Student Affairs at

The information below provides a basic overview of the virus so that you can take better care of yourself throughout the next several months. 

All my best,

Sanjit Sethi 

Published on February 28, 2020 at 2:40 p.m.



What is novel about COVID-19?

COVID-19 is not related to seasonal influenza. It 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, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S. This new virus is a public health concern because it is newly identified, so much is still unknown. 

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern. However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time. 

Symptoms and transmission

Person-to-person exposure occurs through airborne droplets from sneezing and coughing. Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  •  Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Diarrhea


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:

  • #1 Recommendation: 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 people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

People may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma against a group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.

Is travel abroad restricted? 

While flying out of the United States is easy to do, returning to the United States may be difficult or restricted depending on the unpredictable spread of the virus. We recommend following the most up-to-date information coming from the CDC. 

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations:

Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to:

Travelers should practice usual precautions, but CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to the following destinations: