Thursday, February 28, 2020: College officials reconvened. Communication from the provost was sent:
I write to provide a further update to the campus community related to developments, planning, and preparation that the Juniata Emergency Operations Team (EOT) is making related to the current conditions and potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our institutional response addresses the safety, well-being and needs of Juniatians studying and traveling internationally, as well as plans for impacts anticipated locally and domestically. I encourage you to visit and bookmark the website we have developed to keep you informed of the Colleges decisions, information and updates related to coronavirus: https://www.juniata.edu/coronavirus.php
SPRING BREAK TRAVEL
During Spring Break, between March 7 and 15, Juniatians may be traveling as individuals or members of organized trips and tours. The following considerations and recommendations should guide travel decisions:
- Students, faculty, and staff who are planning to travel internationally over spring break should be mindful of the conditions they may encounter while abroad, as well as emerging travel restrictions that may disrupt their plans.
- Juniatians traveling domestically over spring break should also be mindful of their destination and maintain awareness of emerging conditions.
- Those who travel to or through an affected region ( https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html)
- or who believe they may have been exposed should consult with medical personnel and contact the Dean of Students Office and consult with Health Services before returning to campus.
SUPPORTING STUDY ABROAD PARTICIPANTS
The College has been actively engaged with supporting current students in study abroad locations in partnership with study abroad sites and sponsors in a variety of international locations. Currently 48 students are in study abroad programs, and none of those in placements proximate to current outbreaks (e.g. China, South Korea or Italy).
Students who are currently studying abroad as well as those who are approved for study abroad programs in the upcoming months have received direct contact regarding current conditions, options for minimizing risk, and decision timelines (particularly in cases where trips have not yet departed). All students involved with travel programs will continue to engage with the Center for International Education as well as faculty and staff course leaders. Further, the United States Department of State has established a site with travel advisories and information related to the coronavirus ( https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province--china.html).
In addition, a task force is meeting to assess regional and local partnerships and implement plans that anticipate and mitigate risks associated with the domestic spread of coronavirus. The College’s progress, decisions, communication, and outreach are ongoing, and, to assure access to information for students, faculty, staff, parents and others, communications and information related to coronavirus will be posted on a dedicated website that can be found at https://www.juniata.edu/coronavirus.php.
As of this message, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania. To make informed decisions, the College is closely monitoring the situation and would encourage others to do the same. Current and accurate information can be found online: U.S. Center for Disease Control ( https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ); World Health Organization ( https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus ); and Pennsylvania Department of Health ( https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx).
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Like seasonal flu, coronavirus may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. If you are immunocompromised, or have a diminished capacity to resist illness or infection, you may want to seek out additional consultation at Health Services or from your primary care provider about additional precautions you may consider taking.
Further, students who experience illness or flu-like symptoms, or suspect that they have been exposed to coronavirus should seek consultation and screening at Health Services. Health Services staff are obtaining the travel history for all clients, and based on travel history, personnel are taking appropriate action.
Everyday actions individuals can take to stay healthy include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
- Additional guidance is online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
I urge anyone with questions about COVID-19 or the College’s response to this virus to consult our website, which we will continue to update regularly. Additional inquiries regarding students on campus may be directed to Matthew Damschroder, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students (email@example.com, or regarding students in travel programs, Kati Csoman, Dean of International Education (firstname.lastname@example.org). And finally, I ask that all Juniatians, as is our culture and ethos, reach out in support of those among us who have loved ones impacted by or at risk of this disease.