Concordia University



1. What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals. Many strains exist and cause symptoms that we would normally attribute to the common cold. However, some Coronaviruses can cause symptoms that are more serious and lead to widespread outbreaks such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

In January 2020, a novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia (a severe lung infection) originating in Wuhan, China.  The novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is also called COVID-19.

2. What is the risk?

Canadian public health authorities advise that the overall risk to Canadians remains low.

The situation is evolving, and the University is taking its guidance from public health agencies at the local, provincial and federal level, who are closely monitoring the outbreak, and providing public health and infection control guidance.

The risk of more severe illness may be higher for individuals with weakened immune systems, such as older people and/or those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, or heart, renal or chronic lung disease.

3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Many who are infected with COVID-19 experience mild or no symptoms. Symptoms may resemble those of a cold or a flu and can take up to 14 days to appear after an exposure. They might include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

4. What should I do if I think I have these symptoms?

If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, please remain at home and contact Info-Santé (8-1-1), a free, bilingual and confidential service staffed by nurses 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Info-Santé nurses can advise you about options for medical services. 

5. What can I do to help protect myself and others from COVID-19 and other flu-like viruses?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the following everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Note that public health authorities do not recommend wearing a facemask if you are not sick.

Surgical masks, such as those sold in pharmacies, should be used if you have a fever or cough and are in close proximity to others, such as in a clinic waiting room. In these instances, masks may help limit the spread of respiratory infections.

6. What should I do if I recently travelled to mainland China?

As of February 10, 2020:

If you develop symptoms, within 14 days of your return from mainland China, avoid contact with others and call Info Santé at 8-1-1.

Even if you have not travelled to mainland China but have symptoms of cough and/or fever within 14 days after close contact with someone who is may have contracted  COVID-19, avoid contact with others and call Info Santé at 8-1-1.

If you have visited the Chinese province of Hubei, and even if you do not have symptoms, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that you self-isolate for 14 days from the date you left Hubei.

What does self-isolation mean? Self-isolation is different from quarantine. It is voluntary and means that you reduce your contact with people, particularly those who are very old, very young, or who have a weakened immune system. If you live with others, adopt healthy flu behaviours such as those outlined in Question 5.

If you are self-isolating, please contact Campus Wellness and Support Services (CWSS) at In these special circumstances, the CWSS team will ask you some questions in order to help facilitate arrangements for your academic or workplace responsibilities.

At this time, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Canada is low.

7. Will classes be cancelled?

At this point, there is no need to cancel any classes. However, as with any class cancellation or change, students are advised to check the Concordia website.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises that there is no significant risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Canada. Should the situation change, we will update this FAQ.

8. Should we be cancelling events?

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises that there is no significant risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Canada. We do not recommend cancelling events. Should the situation change, we will update this FAQ.

9. I am planning to travel in the coming days. What should I do?

As of February 6, 2020, the advice is to avoid all non-essential travel to China, and all travel to the province of Hubei.

We encourage students and staff planning travel to visit Concordias Travel Safety page and register their travel details. 

Canadians travelling abroad are also encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notice for China on

10. Where can I find the most up-to-date information about COVID-19?

For the latest and most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s webpage on COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

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