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MTSU cancels spring graduation, 2nd student tests positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 14:45:17-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee State University canceled its spring commencement ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A second student has also tested positive for the virus.

The university’s graduation had originally been planned for May 8 and 9. MTSU President Sidney McPhee said graduates will be invited to participate in any future commencement ceremonies.

MTSU will be sending out additional information to those graduates.

McPhee also said he’s reducing the number of on-campus employees to comply with Governor Bill Lee’s “safer at home” order. Most employees will continue to work remotely through May 10.

For summer classes, only online and remote courses will be offered during any session starting in May, although McPhee said courses such as internships and practicums, thesis and dissertation research, and independent study courses, will continue as currently scheduled.

He said orientation for incoming freshmen would be online, as well. For now, the fall semester will continue as planned.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • 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 mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.