Provost’s Update to Students Regarding Coronavirus – 3/4/2020
The University is closely monitoring the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and associated COVID-19 disease. Recent news of people becoming infected demonstrates that the circumstances regarding the virus are changing. AU leadership is developing plans to mitigate those impacts. Further information about the virus and AU’s response(s) will be available at https://www.antioch.edu/resources/students/coronavirus.
It is important for all of us to make sure we are taking precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illness, such as the flu, which we frequently see this time of year. COVID-19, 19 and many other common respiratory viruses spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, such as when a person coughs or sneezes. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the CDC recommends that individuals engage in everyday preventive measures to help stop the spread of germs and avoid illness, such as:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
- Do not to share personal items such as water bottles, smokes and/or vapes.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick. The CDC recommends that individuals remain home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (i.e., chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance).
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
In addition to these personal prevention measures, you should avoid all travel to any locations for which CDC has issued a Level 3 travel notice. See CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
Outbreaks involving COVID-19 evolve quickly and recommendations from public health officials may change as new information becomes available. Please check the following websites often for updated information:
Additional resources to review/follow:
- About Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- American Public Health Association
- World Health Organization
If you develop symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, or shortness of breath), you should:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer.
- Stay home and avoid close contact with other people.
- Seek health advice by phone from either a healthcare provider or the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496 (after-hours 603-271-5300).
- Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell the provider or office about recent travel and symptoms.
- Practice strict respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene including covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- If available, wear a surgical mask when traveling outside of the home (e.g. to a doctor’s office)
Faculty and students have asked about anticipated impacts to instruction and what steps they should take. At present, the number of people with confirmed infections remains low. Correspondingly, impacts to our current instructional program are minimal, and we have encouraged faculty/instructors to continue the normal course of instruction at this time. This is an evolving situation, both nationally and globally, so circumstances could change rapidly.
Public health officials have recommended that people potentially exposed to the virus, or those demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19, self-isolate and stay home from school and work. If you feel you need to self-isolate, please work with your faculty/Instructor so that accommodations can be made while you are away from class. We will be asking faculty to treat this instance as if you were experiencing a health issue that keeps you from attending class. No doctor’s note will be asked of you. Faculty/Instructors should provide course materials and offer the opportunity for make-up work as they normally would. We are strongly encouraging faculty/instructors to make course materials and assignments available through Sakai, AU’s Learning Management System, as this will make it easy to manage the distribution of materials and assignments to all students.
As we continue to monitor the events associated with COVID-19, we are developing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios. For example, in the event of suspended campus operations, we are planning to support faculty/instructors in offering their courses online. This will include the use of existing teaching and learning technologies: Sakai and Zoom. It will be important for all students to check their access to dependable internet in advance of needing to use it for class requirements.
Regular updates will be forthcoming.
Shawn M Fitzgerald, PhD
Provost and CEO
Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431