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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated December 15, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
  • How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

    • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
    • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
    • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

    People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected. Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms.

  • When is someone infectious?

    The onset and duration of viral shedding and the period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet known with certainty. Based on current evidence, scientists believe that persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 may shed replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 for up to 10 days following symptom onset, while a small fraction of persons with severe COVID-19, including immunocompromised persons, may shed replication-competent virus for up to 20 days. It is possible that SARS-CoV-2 RNA may be detectable in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset, similar to infections with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. However, detection of viral RNA does not necessarily mean that infectious virus is present. Based on existing literature, the incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses (e.g., MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV) ranges from 2–14 days. (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • How can I protect myself?
    • Get Vaccinated
      • Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19.
      • You should get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
      • Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
      • It is especially important to wash:
        • Before eating or preparing food 
        • Before touching your face
        • After using the restroom
        • After leaving a public place
        • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
        • After handling your mask
        • After changing a diaper
        • After caring for someone who is sick
        • After touching animals or pets
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact.
      • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
        • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
      • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
        • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
        • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
        • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
      • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
      • The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
      • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places. (Except in Los Angeles County, where starting July 17th, all individuals, whether you are vaccinated or not, must wear a mask while indoors.)
      • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
      • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
      • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may NOT be protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
      • If you are fully vaccinated, see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.
      • Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes.
      • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
      • Throw used tissues in the trash.
      • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Clean and disinfect.
      • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
      • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
      • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
    • Monitor your health daily.
      • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
      • This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
      • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
      • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
    • Protect your health during flu season.
      • Flu season could great impact healthcare systems that could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever.
      • While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits, such as:
        • Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
        • Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
        • Free Flu Vaccines will be available to all currently enrolled students at the Student Health and Wellness Center.

    (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

    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

    This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19.

  • What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who had COVID-19?
    • Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they start to show symptoms.
    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • If I am a student experiencing respiratory illness or COVID-19 symptoms what should I do?

    If you start to develop any COVID-19 symptoms or other concerning questions, please do not go out in public, self-isolate, and contact the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) immediately at 310-846-5738 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). Please call for further instructions before coming into the center.

  • What should I do if I have an Otis friend/roommate with any respiratory illness or COVID-19 symptoms?

    The first thing to do is to recommend that person to reach out to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) for evaluation of their symptoms at 310-846-5738. The second thing is to care for your own health while being supportive to your friend/roommate. Make sure to continue to wear face coverings when around others who are sick and wash your hands frequently.

  • This is a stressful time, what can I do if I am worried about myself, my family, and friends?

    Any student who needs emotional support at this difficult time should contact Student Counseling Services for support services. An appointment can be made by calling 310-846-5738. Staff and faculty can get assistance in finding counseling support through the Employee Assistance Program, or by contacting Human Resources. The Community Health Announcements page that the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) has created also lists a variety of helpful resources for the Otis community.

  • I want to get tested for COVID-19, can I come to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC)?

    The SHWC has adopted an approach to testing that is in line with the guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American College Health Association (ACHA), and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH). The SHWC offers COVID-19 testing for all currently enrolled students. The SHWC will be testing students with signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as well as testing asymptomatic, unvaccinated students with recent known or suspected exposure to the coronavirus.

  • Does my flu shot protect against COVID-19?

    As it is strongly recommended to get the yearly flu shot, the flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19.

  • What is the status of the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. Currently, all individuals 5 years and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals between the ages of 5-17 years old are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Those 18 years and older are eligible for the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed. There are also various vaccines used internationally that have been approved by the W.H.O. For a full list of those vaccines please visit this W.H.O. web page.

  • How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

    Two authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States both require two shots to be effective, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one shot. (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • Why would a vaccine be needed if we can do other things, like social distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?

    Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from those who are sick, helps reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have been vaccinated?

    Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • When can I stop wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others after I have been vaccinated?

    There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. (Answer provided by the CDC.) 

  • What kind of mask is acceptable and where can I get one on campus?

    To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) recommends the following mask as they have been proven to provide significant protection.  

    Types of Acceptable Face Masks

    To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants, the CDC and the LACDPH recommends the following mask as they have been proven to provide significant protection. 

    Mask Grading Scale

    How To Obtain Face Masks 

    While Otis community members are expected to supply their own masks, the College keeps a supply available to access as needed at the following locations. 

    ELAINE & BRAM GOLDSMITH CAMPUS (MAIN CAMPUS)  9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045

    • Ahmanson Hall (Lobby)  Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Library (1st floor of Residence Hall)  Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. and Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
    • Residence Hall Supervisors (Housing Office) Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
    • Bronya & Andy Galef Center – 201 Fine Arts Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
    • Parking Security Booth (Inside parking structure) Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
    • North Building (Product Design) Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
    • Campus Safety Office (Next to Faculty Teaching & Learning Center) 24 hours, 7 days a week 

    MFA FINE ARTS STUDIOS 10455 Jefferson Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232

    • Office Manager Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.