To all members of the WCSU Community,
As you are likely aware, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health agencies are monitoring the spread of COVID-19 – or the novel Coronavirus. While there have not yet been any identified cases in Connecticut, there have been single cases in New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. At this time, both the Connecticut State University and Colleges system and WCSU are monitoring the situation locally and setting in place protocols in the event of a local outbreak. Here are the first things that you should know.
As of last week, the CDC identified several categories of travel risk – levels 1, 2 and 3, with three being highest risk. To date, the following countries are at level 3: China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. As a result, we have cancelled all university-sponsored travel to these locations for students, faculty and staff. Our ISEP students in Italy are returning to their homes, with classes offered remotely from the host institution in Italy. Other ISEP students are remaining in their programs at this time.
Spring Break Travel
The BOR is preparing a statement on Spring Break travel. Please watch for that announcement later today.
Here is the CDC website for more information on their travel precautions: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Continuity of Services
In the event that we are faced with limited or extensive closures of our campus, we are preparing for remote operations wherever possible.
For all full- and part-time teaching faculty, we ask that you familiarize yourselves with your shell in Blackboard (all courses have one), so that you may switch to remote instruction if necessary. While this will not work for everything, it will work for many things. We can also make use of Web-Ex for live instruction where that is the most appropriate alternative. IT&I is preparing additional guidance to help with remote instruction. If you have questions now, please contact Rebecca Woodward or John DeRosa.
For other personnel, we are working to insure that wherever feasible, people will have remote access to the materials they need to work from home. Please be sure to review your daily routines to see that your materials are in the common drives and/or the One Drive. If you require access to other specialized databases, please let your supervisor know so that they can make the arrangements.
For students, please identify your options for connecting to campus electronically so you can stay informed about all university functions and complete your coursework. If you have no options, we ask that you communicate with your advisor so that they can help you assess the situation.
At this time, the best guidance for avoiding COVID-19 is the same as any flu. This means:
- Wash your hands on a regular basis. Use soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
- Invest in a personal bottle of Purell or related products so you can use it whenever throughout the day, when handwashing is not feasible.
- If you cough or sneeze, please cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve.
- Consider alternatives to handshakes for now.
- If you have a fever, or other flu-like symptoms, please stay home. However, for public health reasons, we do ask that you let us know if you develop flu-like symptoms.
Please be assured that we have a team working on all scenarios. They are in close contact with the System Office, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the City of Danbury. We will continue to inform you of developments as they occur. For now, please take the precautions detailed above and prepare for any potential closures. We hope it does not come to that, but we do need to prepare accordingly.
Thank you for your attention to this message.
Missy Alexander, Ph.D., Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Keith Betts, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.