COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus 2019 or 2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, cases have been identified in multiple other countries including the US.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance. Here is the current situation risk according to the CDC.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

All University-related international travel (whether previously approved or not) is hereby restricted until further notice. Domestic travel is strongly discouraged.

The US State Department and CDC recommend travelers avoid travel to certain countries. For an updated list of high-risk countries, visit the State Department’s Traveler Information page.

Here is a link to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Wherever you are, it’s recommended to practice everyday prevention measures. Also note that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel with their healthcare provider.

If you have traveled to a high-risk area, please read the University’s travel notice.

If you are returning from a high-risk area, the CDC guidelines recommend:

  1. Staying home for 14 days and avoiding contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period.
  2. Separating yourself from other people and animals in your home. Do not allow visitors. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
  3. Taking your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitoring for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  4. Not taking public transportation, taxis or ride-shares during this time.

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Consider alternatives to shaking hands.
  • Additionally, unless you are sick with cough, sneezing and fever, it is not advised to wear a mask.

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days:

  • You traveled to China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, or Japan, OR
  • Visited an affected region, OR
  • You had close contact with someone who had traveled to an affected region in China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, or Japan, and who had respiratory symptoms.

You should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Missouri Western students and other Missouri Western faculty/staff may call Esry Student Health Center at (816) 271-4495. Monday-Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm and Mosaic Nursing Triage Line at (816) 271-4000 24 hours a day.
  • All non-campus community may contact their health care provider or call The City of St. Joseph Health Department at (816) 271-4636.
    Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. Please do not get on public transportation or just arrive at the campus health center. Call for direction and advice instead: Esry Student Health Center – (816) 271-4495.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

About this Page

Missouri Western State University understands the concerns of the campus community over the COVID-19 outbreak. Our goal is to provide clear, concise and timely information to students, faculty, staff and visitors on what Missouri Western is doing to protect our community.

Missouri Western is closely monitoring COVID-19 with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents and World Health Organization, as well as the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the City of St. Joseph Health Department.

The information provided on this website is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered medical or legal advice. We encourage proper hygiene and health precautions, but we urge you to consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.