By now you all have heard of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  This is a new virus that scientists had not seen before, and therefore is called a ‘novel’ virus.  The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, meaning a disease that is present across the whole world.

How is the virus spread?
COVID-19 is spread through the air by droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.  It may also be spread by touching an object that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes or mouth, but that is not the main way.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

• fever               • cough          • shortness of breath

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent someone from getting the virus.  Research is on-going in many countries, and potential vaccines are being tested, but it will take at least a year before there will be a vaccine ready for distribution to the public.

Is there treatment for COVID-19?
There is no specific treatment for the virus, but there is treatment for the symptoms, if needed.  People who are sick should be seen and treated by medical professionals.

How can I protect myself?
There are many ways you can help prevent getting sick:

  1.  Prevent contact with people that have the sickness
  2. Wash your hands well and often. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  3. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, mouth, especially if you haven't washed your hands
  4. Clean and disinfect your desk, computer and phone more often
  5. Avoid large crowds of people
  6. Do not share food or drinks with friends or people outside your host family
  7. Stay home if you are sick

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Right now, the risk of becoming sick with the Coronavirus in the U.S. for the average person is very low.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) is not recommending people who are NOT sick to wear a mask for two reasons:

a)     Most masks do not protect against virus particles
b)     Respirators, which are more protective must be carefully fitted to size, and carefully disposed of.  If everyone wore these masks every day, everywhere, there would be a shortage of these masks for healthcare workers who need them to care for people who are sick.

Will my school close?
To be cautious, some private and public schools may close for a short period of time for cleaning or to help mitigate (slow) the spread the virus.  Many schools will continue their studies using online classes.  Your AHLI Coordinator will keep you informed if this change will impact you.
If your school closes, Remember:

  • School is still in session, you must sign-in online EVERY day or you will be marked absent. This is not a vacation.
  • You cannot travel during this time. You must be on-line for classes.
  • You must turn-in assignments on time. You will not be given extensions.

Can I go home this Summer?
The epidemic is changing daily.  It is difficult to predict how the global situation will be by the time your school closes.  We urge you to have patience before making decisions. However, there are some travel bans for certain countries already in effect that may affect your ability to return to the States if you go home for Summer vacation.  AHLI will be offering summer programming for students who want to stay in America over the Summer and continue with their English studies and be assured their enrollment in school (high school or post-high). 

This is not a time to fear. God tells us not to be afraid for He is with us at all times, and strengthens us with courage, love, and hope. If you are feeling anxious, talk with your Coordinator or host family.

Here is a popular comic about virus basics that I would like to share with you:

English version of the comic - Press this link

Chinese version of the comic - Press this link

If you like facts, statistics, or graphs about the pandemic, follow this link to learn more: informationisbeautiful.net

Thank you.

Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI - International Education and Homestay