On March 25, a student who had recently returned from the Fullerton College and Cypress College London Study Abroad Program, received confirmation from the Orange County Health Care Agency that they tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the first purportedly confirmed case related to Fullerton College, however college health professionals are actively reviewing additional self-reported cases that have not yet been confirmed by county health agencies.
The student notified Study Abroad faculty on March 24, that they began experiencing symptoms after returning to the United States. A second Study Abroad student also notified their faculty that they were experiencing symptoms and are awaiting COVID-19 test results. Each student was screened for a fever when they re-entered the U.S. at LAX. They began experiencing symptoms after they returned home during a 14-day, self-quarantine required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all travelers from Europe. Both students have begun to recover. College health officials are actively engaged in confirming the possible extent of exposure.
Thirty-two students and two faculty members participated in the joint-college London Study Abroad Program. They were directed to cut their program short and returned over the course of a few days during the week of March 16. All 34 people are self-quarantined at their homes for the required 14-day period.
Fullerton College has been contacted by an additional student who self-reported that they tested positive and another three students who self-reported to the college that they may have been exposed, but did not indicate they tested positive. Follow-up is ongoing from the college to these students, and none have been confirmed by public health agencies.
The student who self-reported they tested positive, contacted the college nearly four weeks after the period of potential exposure. That student self-reported that they sought medical treatment in their country of origin and returned to the United States after recovering. The Orange County Health Care Agency’s Public Health department stated that enough time had passed to indicate that the student had not exposed people on campus.
Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, Fullerton College began instituting strict social distancing measures by removing approximately 21,000 students from campus beginning March 13. The campus closure extended to employees on Monday, March 16. The college remains closed until April 13.
Anyone concerned that they may be experiencing symptoms are recommended to follow the steps of the CDC Coronavirus Self Checker https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html.
All Californians are advised to stay home to minimize the spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Please visit the Fullerton College COVID-19 website for regular updates and resources.