COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

What is a coronavirus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines “coronaviruses” as:

“a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).”

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.

How do I get notified when BC is closing the campus or canceling events?

The College sends notifications via email and through our BC Alerts system that sends out text messages. Now is a great time to go to the BC Alerts webpage and make sure your notification settings are correct. You can always check our Emergency Operations Hotline, (425) 401-6680, for information on emergency closures or delays.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of viruses, including coronavirus?

We care about the health of our campus community. We are asking everyone on campus to follow these recommendations from healthcare providers:

  • Stay home if you become sick and avoid close contact with others that may be sick.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water if possible. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene – cover your cough and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Should I wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads (as of April 3), the CDC is now recommending people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is a public health measure people can take to assist in the reduction of the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others.

Wearing a cloth face mask is not mandatory, it’s a personal decision made by each individual. Medical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.


An Example of a T-Shirt Cloth Face Mask from the CDC.

What happens if I get sick? What do I do?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends following these steps:

1. Stay home except to get medical care.
2. Separate yourself from other people in your home.
3. Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
4. Wear a facemask.
5. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
6. Clean your hands.
7. Avoid sharing personal household items.
8. Monitor your symptoms and seek medical advice if they become severe

What is the best way to clean and disinfect common spaces and areas?

The college has ordered supplies to prevent illness during the regular flu season, and those measures also apply to the coronavirus outbreak. College custodial staff have increased cleaning high traffic areas and commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and tables.

Reducing the spread of illness is a community effort. Instructors should encourage students at the beginning of class to disinfect their area upon arrival using sanitizing wipes or spray bottles with cleaning agents. Please submit a work request to custodial staff if you need sanitizer and wipes, or a refill for your sanitizing hygiene station.

Have students attending BC reported coronavirus symptoms or been screened at airports?

Due to privacy reasons, BC cannot release information about students who reported symptoms, or are being monitored and/or tested for the novel coronavirus . Bellevue College is providing support and is in close communication with staff and students that may have been impacted by the situation.

The coronavirus makes me feel anxious. What should I do?

There are campus resources if you need to talk to someone or report a concern. For emotional support, students can contact our Counseling Center which is located on the second floor of the B Building, or by phone at (425) 564-5747. Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 877-313-4455 at any time (24/7). If someone does feel they’re the victim of a bias or hate incident, please use Report a Concern to let us know.

What about travel?

With Spring Break coming up soon, we encourage everyone to stay informed of the most current travel advisories from the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and to use caution in traveling to areas with higher risk of infection. As of today (3/1), the CDC lists China, Italy, South Korea and Iran as Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) and Japan at Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions). Along with the risk of infection, there is also the chance that travelers to these countries may be restricted or delayed entry into the U.S.

There will be no sponsored employee or student travel until further notice without VP or AVP approval. Case by case travel for pedagogical reasons (e.g. clinical and practicum) may be approved by Dean and AVP of AA under special circumstances.

You can find the latest travel advisories on the CDC website.

What are the best resources to get more information on COVID-19?

Below is a list of resources from federal, state, and local governments.

CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus page provides coronavirus situation updates, advisories, and recommendations.

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington State, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

Who is on the ‘Flu Team’?

The Flu Team formed in 2018 to plan and prepare for a particularly heavy flu season. The team gathered again at the start of 2020 to address issues and make recommendations to the President’s Cabinet to maintain a healthy campus. Membership is made up of representatives from Public Safety, Campus Operations, Housing, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Events, Health Sciences Division, Counseling, Institutional Advancement, and Human Resources.

Thank you and stay healthy,
BC Flu Team


Last Updated April 9, 2020