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Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary of Terms

FAQ / Glossary

This page is updated as new information becomes available.

School Operations: Get Ready | Information on SARS-CoV-2: General Information on SARS-CoV-2 | Why Do Viruses and Diseases Have Different Names? | COVID-19 | Where Did SARS-CoV-2 Come From?

School Operations | Return to Top

School Leaders: While Buildings Are Empty, Get Ready for Students to Return | Return to Top
  • Retain in-house facility workers: clean, disinfect, maintain building systems; assess asbestos and lead paint status; pest-proof inside and out; check water and ventilation filters; assess water damage, fix leaks. 
  • Hire local trades as needed: plumbing repairs; electrical upgrades; masonry and walkway repairs; lead and/or asbestos remediation; green-scape grounds to direct water away from foundations and reduce run-off; plant shade trees; use native species.

Information on SARS-CoV-2 | Return to Top

SARS = Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Co = Coronavirus

V = Virus

  • SARS-CoV-2 = severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

There is a SARS-CoV from 2003:

  • SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was a virus identified in 2003. SARS-CoV is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals (civet cats) and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002.
Why do the virus and the disease have different names? | Return to Top
  • Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names.  For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.  People often know the name of a disease, but not the name of the virus that causes it.

There are different processes and purposes for naming viruses and diseases.

  • Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines. Virologists and the wider scientific community do this work, so viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

WHO = World Health Organization

How are Viruses and Diseases Named?

  • Diseases are named to enable discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment. Human disease preparedness and response is WHO’s role, so diseases are officially named by WHO in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
  • ICTV announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different.
COVID-19 | Return to Top

Co   =  Coronavirus

VI  =  Virus

D   =  Disease

19  =  2019

COVID-19 = coronavirus disease 2019

  • WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on February 11, 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Where did SARS-CoV-2 come from? | Return to Top
  • The first human cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected with SARS-CoV-2 and thereby developed the disease COVID-19.


Information on these pages is provided as a service to the public. While every effort is made to provide accurate and reliable information, this is advisory, is provided for informational purposes only. These are not intended and should not be relied upon as official statements of ASHRAE.

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