2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

KU Students, faculty and staff experiencing symptoms should stay home and call their healthcare provider or call Watkins Health Services nurse helpline at 785-864-9583 to make an appointment for testing.

Watkins Health Services is closely monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and working with university, local and state officials to ensure the health and safety of the Jayhawk community with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition to these CDC warnings, symptoms of blood clots include chest pain, shortness of breath, mental status changes and pain/color changes in your hands or feet.

Preventive Practices

To promote the safest possible conditions on our campus, we strongly encourage preventive practices to prevent illness:

  • Stay home when you are sick, regardless of symptoms, except to get medical care.
  • Continue to practice everyday preventive actions (handwashing, physical distancing, wear face cover, etc.)
  • Cover mouth with tissues whenever sneezing, and discard used tissues in the trash. If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into the elbow or upper sleeve, not into hands.
  • Refrain from shaking hands.
  • Respect physical distancing on campus and off. Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Understand the risk of attending large gatherings. The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with and spreading COVID-19.
  • Limit unnecessary travel.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at home, work and on campus. Get more Tips for living in shared spaces.
  • Avoid sharing personal items (food, vape pens, water bottles, etc.)
  • Review Douglas County numbers to stay informed on the local outbreak situation.
  • Take care of your emotional health. Physical distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.
  • Connect with university services, friends and family remotely when possible. Use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face study sessions or group meetings.
  • Download the Healthy Habits (PDF) for more tips.

What to do if you are Feeling Ill

  1. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay at home and do not go to class or work.
  2. Call Watkins Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583 or your primary healthcare provider BEFORE arriving in person or going to the emergency room. They need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs first.
  3. Telemedicine may be an option depending on your primary complaint. To schedule a zoom appointment at Watkins, students can call 785-864-9507 and faculty/staff can call 785-864-9565
  4. Stay in contact with others by phone and email.
  5. Monitor your symptoms and follow care instructions from your healthcare provider.

If you are Required to Quarantine/Self-Isolate

  • Stay home until it’s safe to be around others or if medical care is needed.
  • Contact your employer (if applicable).
  • Call the individual(s) who can help with getting you food and other supplies.
  • Be prepared to speak with public health officials who may be assisting with contact tracing.
  • Contact your faculty. Let them know you are going to miss class or the illness is impacting your ability to get your assignments completed.
  • Know how to engage with university services remotely.
  • Stay connected with family and friends remotely. Utilize personal tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts for meeting with your faculty, advisors, university programming, student organizations, or talking to friends and family.

Last udated July 30, 2020


Watkins Now Offering Virtual Appointments

To better assist KU students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Watkins is offering virtual appointments. Using Zoom video-conferencing technology, students can connect to one of our board-certified medical providers via the Zoom app. This quick and easy solution allows for live consultations over a computer, tablet or phone.

Zoom appointments keep both patients and healthcare staff safe without the risk of face to face contact. Another benefit is continued care for students who may be away from Lawrence.

There is no charge for Zoom appointments for students who have paid the summer health fee as part of their required campus fees. Students who have not paid the summer health fee will be charged the summer health fee in order to use Zoom or in-person appointments at no additional cost.

How It Works

  1. Request a Zoom appointment.
    Call our appointment line at 785-864-9507 between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday to request a Zoom appointment.
  2. Receive Zoom appointment confirmation.
    A member of our Registration staff will email you instructions and a link for your appointment. You will need to install the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device ahead of time.
  3. Attend Zoom appointment.
    Follow the instructions provided to attend your Zoom appointment on the scheduled date and time.

Last updated June 18, 2020


Travel Quarantine Update

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issues regular mandates on travel-related quarantines for international, domestic, and cruise-related travel. Kansas residents and visitors who have traveled to the following locations need to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Kansas:

  • Florida on or after June 29
  • Cruise ship or river cruise passengers on or after March 15
  • International travel on on or after July 14 to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice With Restrictions, including China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Brazil. International travelers must follow CDC guidance and protocols.

Others needing to continue quarantining:

  • Anyone subject to a travel-related quarantine for a state or country previously on the travel-related quarantine list must complete their 14-day quarantine period. This includes:
    • Travel to Arizona between June 17 and July 27
    • International travel to Bahrain or French Guiana between July 14 and July 27
  • Received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.

Last updated July 28, 2020


Be Aware of COVID-19 Scams

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the pandemic emergency by launching thousands of coronavirus-related emails and websites on a daily basis. These suspicious domains are being used for phishing attacks, malware distribution and financial fraud by tricking users into paying for fake COVID-19 preventive measures, at home tests, cures, supplements and vaccines.  Be aware of email, phone or text message scams luring users to purchase fake products or download and install malware by clicking on a link or opening an attachment. Misinformation is everywhere. Always rely on trusted sources.

The FBI warns to be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products like sanitizing products and personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full-face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. Be on the lookout for any suspicious activity such as unusual payment terms (e.g., supplier asking for up-front payments or proof of payment), last-minute price changes, last-minute excuses for delay in shipment (e.g., claims that the equipment was seized at port or stuck in customs) or unexplained source of bulk supply.

If you think you have information of suspicious activity by a vendor, or believe you were a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, please report it:

Posted March 25, 2020


Post Spring Break Guidance

As everyone returns to campus following Spring Break, KU is taking additional precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. While exposure risk remains low in Kansas right now, we continue to plan for potential spread of the virus.

The coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving and KU encourages you to check the CDC for national updates. If you have specific questions, contact Watkins at 785-864-9500 or your primary healthcare provider.

Routine health precautions to take:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not share food or drinks, eating utensils or smoking devices with others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and frequently touched objects.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu symptoms.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your forearm.
  • If you develop a fever, cough or breathing issues contact Watkins at 785-864-9500 or your primary medical provider. Before going to a medical provider, call if you have symptoms to get specific information on how to visit the facility

People who may be more vulnerable to infection:

  • People aged 60+
  • People with underlying medical conditions at any age which may increase the risk of a serious reaction to the infection, such as:
    • Blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell disease or on blood thinners).
    • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce medication doses due to kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis.
    • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis). Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.
    • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS).
    • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks.
    • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus).
    • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders).
    • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease).
    • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen.
    • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.

Social Distancing

In personally preparing for the community spread of COVID-19, here are some tips to implement social distancing measures:

  • Increase the physical space between you and others to about 6 feet.
  • Reduce the number of large gatherings you attend.
  • Consider regularly checking your health status by taking your temperature to detect possible fever or being alert to respiratory illness.

Posted March 13, 2020


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