We understand there remain concerns regarding the coronavirus. While the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) acknowledges this "situation is rapidly evolving," officials reaffirm to us that the risk to the general public is low, as only one case has been identified in the county and there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission locally.
As we have previously communicated, if you have not been to Wuhan, China, or been in close contact with someone who has been to Wuhan and is sick, your risk is low. However, we have received interim guidance for schools, colleges and universities from OCHCA in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national public health emergency declaration issued Friday, January 31, 2020.
Updated Federal Guidelines
As part of the emergency declaration, which went into effect today (Sunday, February 2) at 11 am, Americans returning to the United States, who have been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days, will face a mandatory quarantine and be monitored by public health officials. Americans returning to the United States from other parts of China will face enhanced screening and a self-quarantine of up to 14 days to ensure they do not pose a health risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asks that healthy travelers self-quarantine for 14 days and students who self-quarantine should be excused from school during this period. The quarantine is voluntary and is not monitored or enforced by the OCHCA, and currently there is no guidance from state or federal officials regarding enforcement by schools, colleges or universities of the self-quarantine guidance. Persons identified at highest risk of developing illness are monitored by federal, state and/or local public health officials. If a high-risk person being monitored is a student, the OCHCA will exclude them from school for 14 days from their last exposure and will communicate with the school, college or university to assure the student is excluded for the identified period.
As noted, OCHCA indicates this is a rapidly evolving situation and is offering guidance on this subject. The OCHCA will continue to provide us with updates. To support public health, IVC follows the guidance of expert agencies and we expect our community do so as well.
Should staff or students wear masks?
Currently, the CDC does not recommend the wearing of masks be mandated for staff or students. The wearing of masks is common in many countries, and individuals should exercise their own discretion in their use. As always, the OCHCA recommends that persons who are ill stay home to limit transmission of all viruses.
At this time, OCHCA confirms only one case of the Coronavirus in Orange County (a man in his 50s who is isolated and in good condition). The risk to the public in Orange County and throughout the United States remains low.
Should this situation change, please know that the IVC and our district are committed to maintaining the privacy rights of any student, faculty or staff member who might be placed under mandatory or self-quarantine. We will handle this matter with sensitivity and confidentiality.
- OCHCA will notify IVC of any students under mandatory quarantine, who have been excluded from attending campus due to recent travel from China’s Hubei province within 14 days
- Once IVC has received notification these individuals are cleared to return to campus
- Related absences will be excused
- Students who have recently returned from other parts of China are asked to self-quarantine and provide IVC with documentation and/or a doctor’s note
- IVC will work with students to support continued learning at home
- Related absences will be excused
IVC understands that missing school, for any reason, can cause concern and stress for the campus community. We must all come together to maintain a healthy and safe educational environment.
Additional Information and Resources
For information about healthy habits to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, health guidelines and FAQs from IVC and our health partners, click here.
Cindy Vyskocil, Ed.D.
Irvine Valley College