Novel Coronavirus and Spring Break 2020

The current outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading quickly worldwide. This new virus causes mild to moderate respiratory illness and, in some cases, serious medical complications. The University of South Carolina is working with the SC DHEC (DHEC) and the CDC to actively monitor this developing situation and potential impact to our campus community.

While the vast majority of cases of Novel Coronavirus have occurred in mainland China, other countries are emerging hot spots. As the virus continues to spread, other countries may see a surge in the number of cases. Please check the CDC website regularly for updates prior to finalizing your travel plans. 

Before going on a spring break trip:

• Monitor travel alerts daily.
• Visit the CDC website for any travel alerts
• Read any alerts for travelers from the State Department.
• Do not travel if you are sick.

While traveling:


  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for more than 20 seconds
    • Especially after using the restroom, touching public items, coughing, sneezing, and before touching your face and eating
    • If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) that is 60% alcohol or greater
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you must, wash your hands beforehand
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. If using a tissue, immediately throw the tissue away; do not store them in your pocket
  • Avoid public transport as much as possible. Confined spaces such as buses, trains, subways, and airplanes may put you at a higher risk of infection
  • Thoroughly cook animal products before consuming them

Situational awareness

  • Maintain situational awareness while travelling in public—i.e. be aware of your surroundings (including people who are sick) and try to distance yourself as appropriate
  • Avoid areas that you feel might make your more likely to be exposed
  • Know how to get local information about the situation, as these situations can rapidly evolve
  • Be aware that you may be quarantined upon entry/departure if traveling

While outside your home

  • Practice social distancing: stay at least 2 meters (6 feet) away from you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. You can inhale droplets that contain the virus if you are close to someone who is coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid spitting in public
  • Avoid close contact and travel with animals
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with people and highly touched surfaces (i.e. shaking hands, doorknobs, others’ phones, public computers)

If you are feeling ill

  • Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slightly runny nose, until you recover
  • If you develop a fever, cough, and are having difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. This may be signs of a respiratory infection or another serious condition. Call ahead to ensure that you are going to the most appropriate health facility
  • If you have been advised to quarantine yourself at home by a medical provider or local government body, follow the guidance given to you

After returning from spring break, travelers should monitor their health. If they traveled somewhere that has a novel coronavirus outbreak and develop a fever, cough or breathing issues, they should contact their health care provider immediately for instructions.