FAQs About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is meant to answer questions our college community has in regards to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 as related to the college and its response to this unprecedented event.

Last updated: March 23, 2020 at 8:15 am

To find out if there are cases of reported COVID-19 in Harris County, please visit the Harris County Public Health website.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Office of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM) have been tasked by the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) to give the College’s response to COVID-19. The SLT is updated and meets regularly to discuss and review the rapidly evolving situation regarding the spread of COVID-19. The College has activated its emergency management plan and convened its response team to coordinate preparedness and response activities. Policies, Procedures and Processes are also being reviewed and updated to meet the needs of the College and community. Members of the team continue to closely monitor the situation, relying on local and state health officials, as well as members of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of State Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Preparedness and the World Health Organization to ensure a consistent and coordinated response. The College coordinates with internal and external partners to ensure that issues related to campus communities are appropriately addressed. We would like to remind everyone to practice good hygiene to lower the risk of becoming ill.

The College will continue to address questions and concerns through regular communications and updates of this page.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, which can cause illness in humans and animals. Those who have become sick are reported to suffer coughs, fever, breathing difficulties and tiredness. In severe cases, organ failure has been reported.

  • What experts know about COVID-19, a relatively new virus, is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. The World Health Organization named this illness “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19).
  • Person-to-person: The CDC says that the virus is spread mainly from person-to-person, which means those who are in close contact with one another, and/or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • CDC officials say that it is possible a person can contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or an object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes, but they said this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

A multi-specialty group of people across the globe are working on developing a viable vaccine and curative treatment for COVID-19. However, there is not one at this time. The disease is viral, which means antibiotics will not help; the antiviral drugs that work against the flu do not work against coronavirus. Those with a weak immune system and those who already are sick are urged to be especially cautious.

The CDC says people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic – the sickest. Still, it’s possible to spread the disease before showing symptoms, so a person can feel fine and still have it, just as with other viruses. Such cases have been reported, but are not thought to be the main way it spreads. The WHO reports that most people – roughly 80 percent – recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Seek medical advice from your doctor, stay indoors and avoid contact with others, just as you would with the flu. Those with contagious diseases should stay home from work or school until they are well. People with fever, cough and respiratory issues should seek immediate medical attention.  Consider aleternatives to the emergency room like teledocs, convenient care and urgent care locations. Remember that the risk for Texas contracting COVID-19 are still low.  We are in the middle of cold/flu season and the odds of infection from the flu are much higher than COVID-19.

The WHO recommends staying three feet away from a person who is sick. The main way this disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching it from someone with no symptoms at all or by touching surfaces is very low.

Stay educated on the disease by reading the CDC website. Most people who become infected experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others.

Take care of yourself by doing the following:

  • Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for 20 seconds. This helps kill viruses that might be on your hand.
  • Stay at least three feet away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Follow good respiratory hygiene, which means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately.

The WHO suggests people with no respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, do not need to wear a medical mask, but those who do have symptoms of COVID-19 and those caring for individuals who have symptoms (coughing, sneezing) should wear a mask.

Please refer to the DSHS website for information.

Continue to avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; avoid shaking hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

College sponsored international travel is now suspended.  Local travel must be reviewed and approved by the SLT.

Restrictions and precautions recommended by the CDC are based on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 meaning exercise normal precautions and 4 meaning do not travel to that location.

Please refer to the CDC website for the specific countries that are affected.

CDC website global map of affected locations.

The CDC has established a geographic risk-stratification criteria for the purpose of issuing travel health notices for countries with COVID-19 transmission and guiding public health management decisions for people with potential travel-related exposures to COVID-19. A number of factors inform the geographic risk stratification, including size, geographic distribution and epidemiology of the outbreak. View a risk assessment map.

Read health notices on the CDC and U.S. State Department.

Travelers from At-Risk countries are being screened at the Point of Entry to the U.S. If you were in a country with a COVID-19 outbreak and have felt sick with fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should do the following:

  • Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel on public transportation while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Read about the differences between isolation and quarantine.

No. At this time there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus.

San Jacinto College follows the guidance of local health department in regards to testing and contact tracing. We screen students and staff for risk before allowing them on campus.

San Jac uses a CDC/EPA approved viricidal agent to routinely and frequently disinfect common areas, touch points and high risk areas.

No, masks are recommended only for healthcare providers and sick patients. We ask that if you are sick you do not come to campus.

Staying informed is the best way to fight anxiety. Get information from credible sources like the CDCTDSHS and HCPH.

Yes, for individuals whose personal physician requests the testing and for those individuals who are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, laboratory testing is available. The CDC recommends that if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. San Jacinto College is NOT providing Coronavirus testing.

A Coronavirus self-checker is also available from the CDC.

State and local public health departments have received tests from CDC while medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers. All of these tests are Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panels, that can provide results in 4 to 6 hours. More information is available on the CDC website.