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College Advisory: COVID-19

Posted: March 2, 2020

Amid rising concerns about the spread of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its possible effects, Thomas Aquinas College has notified both California and New England students — as well as their parents — about the status of the disease, the situation on their respective campuses, and the steps the College is taking to reduce the threat of contamination.

The initial outbreak of COVID-19 first occurred in China in December. It has since spread into several other countries, including the United States. As of this writing, there have been some 40 documented cases of infection in California, none in Ventura County. There  has been only one documented case of infection in Massachusetts, in the Boston area, and one in New Hampshire, in the northern part of the state; none have been close to the New England campus.

Symptoms of infection — fever, cough, or shortness of breath — resemble those of a common flu or cold. The disease is generally not considered to be serious or life-threatening for healthy and young people, but older persons and those with pre-existing medical conditions are at greater risk.

The College is monitoring the situation closely and in cooperation with local health officials. For the time being, authorities recommend the everyday preventive actions ordinarily used to contain the spread of respiratory viruses, especially during flu season. These include:

  • Avoiding close contact with sick people
  • If you are sick, limiting contact with others as much as possible
  • Not sharing personal items such as cups or glasses
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Additionally, the CDC advises those who feel sick with fever or cough, or who experience difficulty breathing — and who have traveled to China or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the 14 days before the onset of symptoms — to call their doctors or local medical clinics. To the best of the College officials’ knowledge, no one on either campus community has traveled to China recently or has been in close contact with anyone later confirmed to have COVID-19.

The College urges all students to take the prescribed precautions. New England students already received this protocol last week, due to a local case of the flu, and the California campus will host an informational meeting to offer further recommendations and answer all questions on Wednesday evening.

Should circumstances or public-health recommendations change, the College will update its response accordingly. The most up-to-date information will always be available at

Please join us in praying for the safety of the Thomas Aquinas community, the health of all those afflicted by this disease, and the well-being of all those who are working to combat it.