The following message is sent on behalf of Dr. Cecil Price, director of the Student Health Service:

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) that recently emerged in China has been detected in a number of other locations around the world. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has now been reported in Italy, Japan, and South Korea. Sustained community spread means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing.

Illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sore throat and diarrhea have also been reported in some patients. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.

Because of these ongoing developments, the uncertainty of how this virus may spread to other locations, as well as the uncertainty of when and how governments may respond to this virus, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to evaluate their travel plans in the immediate future – including Spring Break – especially if they plan to travel to international locations. Risks of travel could include contracting the virus, having travel restrictions imposed by local governments and health authorities, being quarantined or physically isolated from others for extended periods of time (currently 14 days), or having to withdraw from academic programs because of these restrictions.

One of the challenges associated with the coronavirus situation is that things can change very rapidly; the recommendations in place currently might change if the virus spreads and as new information is gained. Wake Forest has a coronavirus website and it will be updated as new details emerge. We encourage any student, faculty, or staff who choose to travel to stay alert to State Department travel advisories or restrictions, airline cancellations, and recommendations from the CDC.


Cecil D. Price, MD
Director, Student Health Service