Guidance for Illinois Students Regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus

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2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. 2019-nCoV has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases, including cases outside China. The latest situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the U.S., are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

While the immediate health risk of2019-nCoV to the general public, both in the United States and in Illinois, remains low, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to detect new cases quickly and prevent community spread of 2019-nCoV. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the U.S. and globally, but strong public health measures now may blunt the impact of the virus.

Due to recent acceleration of 2019-nCoV transmission across China and in accordance with current federal guidance, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends the following:

  • Any student returning from mainland China on February 3, 2020 and onward should not attend school for 14 days after the return date.
  • Absences for this purpose should be excused.
  • Family members of these students should not attend work if they also traveled to mainland China.

This interim guidance is effective as of February 3, 2020, and does not apply retrospectively to students who have been in China during the previous 14 days and are already in the U.S., or those being managed as part of a contact investigation.

Students who returned from mainland China prior to February 3, 2020 can remain in school. If you returned from mainland China before February 3, 2020 and develop respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away. Please call your medical provider in advance, so they are prepared to see you. IDPH recommends avoiding travel to China. The latest travel updates are available on CDC’s web page Traveler’s Health. For more information, please visit DPH.ILLINOIS.GOV or

This document has been adapted from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Revised 2/5/20.