What is the coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.

Where do I get accurate and trusted information about coronavirus?

Primary Resource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Chicago Resource: Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

If you have any questions, please email campussafety@mccollege.edu

What are the symptoms?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

For more information click here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

How can I protect myself from the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There are several measures which can reduce the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have fever, coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing.
  • Keep yourself away from others if you have fever, coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing.

For more information click here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

How is the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

For more information click here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

How is it treated?

There is no specific remedy or cure for this infection. People with the infection are treated with commonly available medications. The most seriously ill people require treatment at a hospital.


How widespread is the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking the spread of the disease. You can read more about on this Coronavirus Situation Summary, which includes a map.

What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Call ahead before visiting a doctor and help keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

 Follow the steps on the CDC website “How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when you are sick.


I am an international student. How can I get health insurance?

International students can contact one of the health insurance providers listed here. Most private insurance companies will not insure individuals with preexisting conditions. For example, if you already have COVID-19, you may not be able to get insurance.

US citizens with low or no income may be eligible to apply for Medicaid through their local hospital or online.

I am an international student. I need help understanding insurance. Who can I talk to?

Here is a link to definitions of important insurance words.

International student insurance agents will help you understand your options in simple English. Many international student insurance companies have translators and/or information available in several different languages.

For more details, contact Miranda Mueller at mmueller@mccollege.edu or Jihoon Doh at jdoh@mccollege.edu

What should I do if I do not have internet at home? 

Comcast is offering new customers 60 days of FREE Internet Essentials service for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area. You can find more information about the offer here 

Please call the phone numbers provided (855-846-8376 English or 855-765-6995 Spanish) to see if you can qualify.

You will need to confirm that you are part of one of any of the following programs:

  • The National School Lunch Program (Free or reduced lunch)
  • Public housing assistance
  • SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits
  • TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • SSI:  Supplemental Security Income
  • Head Start
  • LIHEAP:  Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • WIC:  Women, Infants, and Children program.
  • Tribal assistance

If you qualify, you will be given two options to receive the equipment for the FREE 60-day internet”

  • Pick up equipment from a local Comcast provided to set up on your own (quickest way to get access)
  • Set up an appointment to have a representative come out and set up the equipment for you

Comcast has also opened free access to its public and business WiFi hotspots nationwide. To find a hotspot near you on this map. When in range of the hotspot, select “xfinitywifi” in your list of available networks.

AT&T is offering low-cost wireline home Internet service to qualifying households as well. You can get the details here:

Charter Communications will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. You can find the details here.

 Should I go to the grocery store and buy a lot of food? 

CDC recommends having 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible. Try to avoid going to the grocery store, where there may be large groups of people. Instead of going to the grocery store, you can:

  1. Order groceries online from your local grocery story.If they do not deliver, you can order online and pick up your groceries from the store. These stores that offer grocery delivery and pickup are:
  • Target
  • Jewel-Osco
  • Walmart
  • Mariano’s
  • Whole Foods (through Amazon)
  1. Use grocery delivery servicessuch as:
  • Peapod
  • InstaCart
  • Shipt
  • FoxTrot
  • Postmates
  1. Use a food delivery service. Restaurants in Illinois are closed for dining in, but you can still order takeout from many restaurants. Food delivery services such as UberEats, GrubHub, and DoorDashall offer no-contact delivery options. UberEats is waiving all delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants.

Read CDC guidance on creating a Household Plan of Action.

I am feeling very stressed and anxious about the coronavirus. What can I do to feel better? 

It is very normal to feel stressed right now. Staying calm and coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Here are things you can do to support yourself:

  • Avoid too much exposure to news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Get help when needed. If your stress or anxiety impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed or feel like you want to harm yourself, call 911.

For a list of mental health services in the Chicagoland area, click here.

Read more about coping with stress:




How do I talk to my children about COVID-19 (coronavirus)? What can I do about childcare now that all the schools are closed? 

When talking to your child about COVID-19, take these steps from the National Association of School Psychologists for effective communication:

  • Remain calm and reassuring
  • Make yourself available
  • Avoid excessive blaming
  • Monitor television viewing and social media
  • Maintain a normal routine as much as possible
  • Be honest and accurate
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection
  • Discuss new rules or practices at school
  • Communicate with your school

Contact your child’s school for childcare options. There are also websites, such as www.care.com, that connect you with babysitters in your area.

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource is available here

Global Travel

What are the countries with travel alerts?

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel. For the most up to date information, reference the CDC website.

What does it mean to self-isolate? Should I self-isolate?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or if you think you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Stay home, except for getting medical care: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 should isolate at home during their illness. Restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing like Ubers or Lyft, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The decision to stop home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.


What is social distancing? Do I need to do this?

To protect yourself from getting sick, the CDC recommends social distancing. This means:

For anyone coming back from a level 3 travel health notice country, the CDC recommends staying home for 14 days from the time you left an area and practice social distancing.

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).



Should I wear a facemask to school?

Chicago Department of Public Health does NOT recommend that healthy people wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. Health workers and people taking care of someone with the virus (at home or in a health care facility) must wear face masks.


I am worried that my classmate or someone on campus might already be affected by the virus because they traveled outside of the country recently. Who should I contact?

International travel does not necessarily mean that a person contracted the virus.

It is important to stay calm and remember that it is normal for people to cough or be sick, especially at this time of the year. Individuals who have recently traveled to areas impacted by COVID-19, but show no symptoms, do not pose a risk to other members of the community and should not be presumed to be sick.

Individuals advised to self-quarantine by a public health official following a re-entry screening, should notify campussafety@mccollege.edu.

The MCC community includes members from impacted areas or who have family in impacted areas. It is a very difficult time for people with loved ones there or connections to the country. Please act with compassion towards our entire community – students, faculty, staff, and visitors– and encourage others to do the same.

MCC prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, race and citizenship status as described in our Nondiscrimination Policy in the MCC Catalog.

I was planning to travel abroad during spring break, spring term or summer break, what do you advise?

MCC cannot tell students what to do in their personal time. However, MCC strongly recommends that students avoid nonessential travel outside the U.S., especially to countries with travel health notices from the CDC.

For the most up to date information on countries under travel advisory, reference the CDC website.

If traveling to other locations abroad, stay current with the latest CDC Travel Health Notices and register your trip with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive timely health and safety updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Non-US citizen may also sign up for these alerts.

Where can I find information about whether or not my international travel destination is restricting inbound travel due to COVID-19?

This is a rapidly changing issue, and it’s always wise to check with your airline in advance of and up to the moment you intend to fly, but there are also few organizations trying to track and publicize this information, such as the following:

International Association of Travel Agents – COVID-19 Inbound Travel Restrictions

International SOS – Travel Restrictions, Flight Operations and Screening

Academic Issues for Students

What should I do if I have flu symptoms and don’t think I should go to class?

Call your doctor or urgent care center, then email your instructor to alert them that  you are unable to attend class. Ask for instructions on how to catch up with the material you might have missed.

What should I do if I don’t think I can finish a course due to illness?

Students should check the policies of their program to understand their options for dropping, withdrawing or requesting incomplete grades; contact registrar@mccollege.edu  with any questions about your options.

Will my grade be affected if I can’t attend classes due to illness or isolation?

Stay in touch with your instructor. He or she will help you so that you can make up any missed work while you are at home, if possible. In some cases, a grade of incomplete may be the best option. See the MCC Catalog for more information on incomplete grades. Email registrar@mccollege.edu if you have questions.

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