Emergency / Weather Alert

With the exception of residence hall apartments, tap water on both campuses is now safe for drinking and all other uses. Apartment residents (in Centennial, Grasso and Pinney) still must flush pipes by allowing water to run for 10 minutes in sinks and showers. After that, the water will be fine for drinking and washing.

The university has flushed all laundry facilities, drinking fountains and other sources of water in common areas in every building on both campuses.

Be advised that all members of the campus community should continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of Norovirus. Reported cases have declined but everyone should wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your hands to your face.

We will continue to send updates about the Norovirus outbreak as warranted.

Thank you for your patience and diligence in protecting your health.

Last updated: Thursday, April 26, 2018 05:54 PM

Earlier posts

Thursday, April 26, 2018 02:25 PM Here's an update as of noon on Thursday, April 26.

Water status
The city has lifted the boil water advisory, but tap water cannot be consumed as yet. 
The lines need to be flushed in order for water to be consumable, and the Facilities Department is working in an orderly and methodical fashion to make sure all buildings are flushed out properly. 
Please continue to refrain from using water from the sink for drinking or washing hands. 
Once all the campus buildings have been cleared, we will send out another announcement. 
Thank you for your patience. 

Norovirus status
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is working with the Danbury Health Department to investigate reports of Norovirus infection among students, faculty and staff at WCSU. They are collecting information from students, faculty and staff in order to help determine the extent and possible causes of these illnesses. Regardless of whether you have been ill recently, we request that you complete the survey. This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.
All responses will be kept confidential. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Gacek, Connecticut Department of Public Health, at Paul.Gacek@ct.gov
Survey link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/VLH3SRL

News and information pipeline
Please make sure to view our Podcast on the current situation and refer to the FAQs online.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 04:43 PM

A list of FAQs relating to the Norovirus and water main break can be found at:

http://wcsu.edu/news/2018/04/25/faqs/

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 02:09 PM

We have just been informed by the Danbury mayor’s office and the city Department of Health: Don’t drink or use water for handwashing on either campus. This is a city-wide issue.

The Danbury Public Utilities Department will be flushing water pipes throughout the city this afternoon. The water can be used for showering, but not for other uses.

Until further notice, do not drink the city water coming out of the tap or use it to wash your hands.

Sodexo, the university’s food service provider, is following government-approved procedures to prepare food only with boiled water. The Westside cafeteria will remain open and the Midtown campus cafeteria will reopen at 4 p.m. for dinner.

For students who need to stay out of class the next day or two, as per the health advisory, we ask that you let your faculty know right away, so they understand the reason for your absence.

We will update everyone as soon as we get new information.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 01:02 PM

We have just been informed by the Danbury mayor’s office and the city Department of Health: Don’t drink or use water for handwashing on either campus. This is a city-wide issue.

The Danbury Public Utilities Department will be flushing water pipes throughout the city this afternoon. The water can be used for showering, but not for other uses.

Until further notice, do not drink the city water coming out of the tap or use it to wash your hands.

Sodexo, the university’s food service provider, is following government-approved procedures to prepare food only with boiled water. The Westside cafeteria will remain open and the Midtown campus cafeteria will reopen at 4 p.m. for dinner.

We will update everyone as soon as we get new information.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:45 AM

The City of Danbury has announced water on the Midtown campus is safe for showering. Everyone should continue to use bottled water for drinking, washing hands and brushing teeth. Bottled water has been distributed throughout campus.

According to the Danbury Health Department, showering is permitted because drying off external surfaces -- your face and body -- limits internal exposure. It is impossible not to touch surfaces with your hands, however, so it is still necessary to wash hands with bottled water, including after showering, to ensure your health.

Mayor Mark Boughton reports that water from the faucet should be safe to drink by late tomorrow. We will let everyone know as soon as we get confirmation that the water is safe. Until then, use precautions.

Norovirus update: We are investigating reports of a few additional cases. There is probably some person-to-person transmission occurring, but we are hopeful the number of cases will continue to decline.

The university is working with the Danbury Health Department to create a new website where the latest information will be available. We will post that information as soon as we have it.

Thank you for your diligence and patience with this difficult situation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 03:46 PM

As a result of a water main break today, we have been told by the city of Danbury that tap water on the Midtown campus is unsafe for any use. Do not drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth with water from any faucet on the Midtown campus.

Classes and other operations will continue, but the university is distributing bottled water throughout Midtown for drinking, handwashing and other health uses. The O’Neill Center on the Westside campus will be open until midnight for showers. Additional hand sanitizer will also be available.

Additional shuttles have been scheduled for transport between Midtown and Westside campuses.

Midtown dining services are closed but the Westside cafeteria will remain open. The Micromarket on Midtown will be open until 8 p.m. You can use a meal swipe for a sandwich, side and bottled drink. The Micromarket will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday for a continental breakfast and hot coffee.

This campus schedule will be maintained until Danbury’s water service is restored.

While the water break is unrelated to the recent Norovirus outbreak, please maintain healthy practices to prevent the spread of Norovirus. That means frequent handwashing with soap and water – bottled on Midtown and tap water on Westside. (Bottled water is fine for handwashing.) Use hand sanitizer after washing with soap and water. Refrain from touching your fingers to your mouth, eyes or nose. Norovirus spreads by ingesting the virus.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 03:26 PM

As a result of a water main break today, we have been told by the city of Danbury that tap water on the Midtown campus is unsafe for any use. Do not drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth with water from any faucet on the Midtown campus.

Classes and other operations will continue, but the university is distributing bottled water throughout Midtown for drinking, handwashing and other health uses. The O’Neill Center on the Westside campus will be open until midnight for showers. Additional hand sanitizer will also be available.

Additional shuttles have been scheduled for transport between Midtown and Westside campuses.

Midtown dining services are closed but the Westside cafeteria will remain open. The Micromarket on Midtown will be open until 8 p.m. You can use a meal swipe for a sandwich, side and bottled drink. The Micromarket will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday for a continental breakfast and hot coffee.

This campus schedule will be maintained until Danbury’s water service is restored.

While the water break is unrelated to the recent Norovirus outbreak, please maintain healthy practices to prevent the spread of Norovirus. That means frequent handwashing with soap and water – bottled on Midtown and tap water on Westside. Use hand sanitizer after washing with soap and water. Refrain from touching your fingers to your mouth, eyes or nose. Norovirus spreads by ingesting the virus.

Monday, April 23, 2018 02:30 PM

Western Connecticut State University will be open for classes and all activities on Tuesday, April 24.

University President John B. Clark announced that common areas on both the Westside and Midtown campuses have been cleaned to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control. Norovirus was identified as the source of the illness that sickened more than 100 students. The university’s response and recovery protocols have allowed normal operations to resume.

“We have confidence that students, faculty and staff can learn and work together and stay healthy, as long as everyone follows state-recommended appropriate treatment and precautions,” Clark said.

Those precautions include frequent hand-washing with soap and water. Hand sanitizer does not kill the virus.

Norovirus does not spread through the air, so students in a classroom will not become sick just because they are sitting in close proximity to one another. However, according to the state department of Public Health, it is important that anyone who has been ill not return to class or work for 72 hours after the last symptoms – vomiting and diarrhea – have subsided. During those three days after symptoms have stopped, a sick person can still share the virus and potentially contaminate common surfaces.

The state health department encourages frequent hand-washing to reduce general contamination. It is recommended that students wash their hands before and after computer use. Use a plain (non-antimicrobial) liquid soap for routine hand washing with temperate (warm) water, scrub vigorously for at least 15 seconds and then rinse under a stream of warm water.

Students who live on campus and who may need assistance, including with cleaning their living space, should contact their resident director. University staff will clean the rooms of any students who were ill.

The university and state and city health departments are continuing to gather information from students who were sick in order to seek the source of the outbreak, if possible, and how it spread. Students are asked to contact the WCSU Health Services Department at Lipked@wcsu.edu or (203) 837-8593 and provide information.

Monday, April 23, 2018 12:35 PM

The state Department of Public Health has confirmed that the illness that struck Western Connecticut State University was Norovirus. This is helpful information because we know that Norovirus is not spread through the air. Transmission occurs when you touch an infected surface and then touch your fingers to your mouth. It can also be spread when people share food and drink. Importantly, this means a group of people sitting in a classroom together will not get sick just by breathing the same air.

The university has cleaned all common areas, including the two cafeterias, to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control. Any residential student who is sick may notify their Resident Director and the student’s bathroom and other areas of living space will be cleaned by university housekeeping staff.

Anyone who has been sick should stay at home or in their residence hall for 72 hours after symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea have passed. After that time, you will not be infectious.

We will announce tomorrow’s schedule soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 10:10 PM

Dear members of our university community,

Since the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff are of our utmost concern, Western Connecticut State University will be closed Monday, April 23, in response to the illness that has affected approximately 100 students. Although we are aware of a limited number of affected students, based on our discussions with the Connecticut Department of Health, the Danbury Department of Health, Danbury Hospital and the WCSU Director of Health Services, we have decided this is the best and most conservative course of action to protect our university community from infection and spread of the disease.

Additionally, this will give our professional staff an additional day to further consult with state and city health officials to determine next steps. Also, our maintenance crews, who have been hard at work sanitizing and disinfecting both campuses will have additional time to ensure that all areas of the university have been properly cleaned. While the latest data we have about the disease is encouraging, we want to make doubly sure that the university is safe and secure for all before re-opening.

As we know more details about the disease and those adversely affected, periodic informational messages will be sent out through the university's website, email and other social media.

For anyone who is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, follow these guidelines:

1. Please, if possible, go home to limit spread to others on campus.

2. Drink plenty of fluids.

3. Clean all surfaces contaminated with vomit or stool with a bleach solution. Launder

soiled clothes right away. Students who live on campus should contact Housing and

Residence Life staff to assist with room cleaning if necessary.

4. If you become dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency department. (Signs of

dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination, headache, muscle cramps,

thirst.)

5. You may return to campus two to three days after you have recovered.

6. If you are unable to go home, stay in your room, report your situation to your Resident Director, and stay in touch with your family or others who will check on you.

These tips might help you stay well:

1. Use good hand hygiene and keep your fingers out of your mouth.

2. Don’t share food, drinks, cups, or utensils.

3. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.

4. Clean surfaces in your living space frequently with bleach wipe.

On behalf of the university, please accept my apologies for the inconvenience this may cause, especially at this late time of the academic year, but I hope you will understand our priority is for the well-being and safety of our university community.

Best wishes,

Dr. John B. Clark

President, WCSU

Saturday, April 21, 2018 07:27 PM

We believe that the occurrence of illness among students, manifested by vomiting and/or diarrhea, is trending down. Although the source of illness has not yet been pinpointed, the university has taken actions to stop further spread

Sanitation of common areas on both campuses will be completed by Sunday. The cafeteria on the Westside campus was closed and cleaned Saturday, with reopening set for Sunday. The Midtown cafeteria will be closed and cleaned Sunday. As an additional precaution the university threw out all the food in the Westside cafeteria on Friday.

The university is working closely with the state Department of Public Health and the Danbury Health Department and assisting those agencies in their own investigations. This outbreak is not believed to be connected with the national e-coli outbreak. Only two incidents of e-coli illness have been reported in Connecticut, and not in the Danbury region.

Any students who visit a doctor because of symptoms is asked to request tests, including an enteric bacterial stool culture and Norovirus testing. The WCSU Health Services hopes to speak to any student who became ill in order to identify the type of illness and potentially its source.

Students are also advised to be aware of proper hand washing before handling or consuming food, avoid sharing food or drink with others and drink plenty of water or Gatorade.

For students who are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, follow these guidelines:

1. If possible, go home to limit spread to others on campus. 2. Drink plenty of fluids. 3. Clean all surfaces contaminated with vomit or stool with a bleach solution. Launder soiled clothes right away. Students who live on campus should contact Housing and Residence Life staff to assist with room cleaning if necessary. 4. If you become dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency department. (Signs of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination, headache, muscle cramps, thirst.) 5. You may return to campus 2-3 days after you have recovered. These tips might help you stay well: 1. Use good hand hygiene and keep your fingers out of your mouth. 2. Don’t share food, drinks, cups, or utensils. 3. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating. 4. Clean surfaces in your living space frequently with bleach wipes.

The university will continue to send out further information as it becomes available.

Friday, April 20, 2018 10:46 PM

Between 40 and 50 students at Western Connecticut State University became sick Thursday and Friday with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.  University officials have been consulting with the Connecticut State Department of Public Health and the local Health Department since we learned of the reported illness.

For anyone who experiences sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea, the Department of Public Health recommends seeking medical care at the office of a primary care physician, urgent care, or a hospital emergency department. The testing recommended for these symptoms include an enteric bacterial stool culture and Norovirus testing.

We have put several measures in place to limit the spread of additional illnesses. First, we highly advise students to be aware of proper hand washing before handling or consuming food. In addition, we recommend that students do not share food or drink with others. Finally, they should contact Housing and Residence Life staff to assist with room cleaning if necessary.

The university is sanitizing common areas on both campuses. As a result, Westside dining will be closed on Saturday and Midtown dining will be closed on Sunday. Additional shuttle service has been scheduled so that shuttles run every half-hour between campuses. The shuttles will not be stopping at the Danbury Fair mall this weekend.

We will communicate further information as it becomes available.

 

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Emergency / Weather Alert Information

The Emergency / Weather Alert will be posted on the WCSU home page any time an emergency or bad weather causes a delay, cancellation or early closing of the university.

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