North Carolina schools put restrictions in place to protect students from coronavirus threat

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina but that hasn't stopped education leaders from preparing for the possibility.

Some schools are putting restrictions in place.

Elon University is one of four universities in the state to cancel study abroad programs in Italy because of health concerns.

North Carolina Central University is banning students from non-essential travel to China. Voluntary travel to coronavirus-affected areas is strongly discouraged and should be reported to NCCU.

In a statement, North Carolina State University said: "We continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and, as anticipated, things are rapidly changing."

UNC-Chapel Hill student Ashlyn Barbee says she appreciates the constant email updates she's been getting from the university.

"It is nice ... just to make sure that if it were on-campus, we would know," Barbee said.

Duke University announced a few weeks ago that the summer 2020 classes in China have been canceled.

Duke is closely monitoring the situation abroad but has not made any decisions on canceling any other programs.

Durham County Public Schools said in a statement that it is in "constant contact with our partners at the Durham County Department of Public Health.

"We have a standing preparedness and response plan for pandemic flu that we would activate, with any necessary modifications, if called for," DPS added. "In cooperation with state and local health departments, our objectives would be to reduce transmission of the virus, minimize illness, maintain mission-critical operations and services, and minimize disruption of instruction."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus likely emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.

"We've been working proactively on early detection and containment of infections and then with the formalization of the governor's task force two weeks ago that took us to another stop to be more forward thinking to do the things the CDC recommended yesterday," said State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson said in a Wednesday afternoon news conference.


  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

Symptoms are similar to the flu and typically cause mild to moderate respiratory illness.

Coughing, fever, and shortness of breath are common symptoms.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at (866) 462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public.

Tilson also encouraged businesses and schools to review policies and procedures for infection prevention. She also urged the public to be "thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus" and separate rumor from fact before taking action.
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