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COVID-19 Update

March 11, 2020

Dear Huntingdon Family,

No doubt you have been hearing/reading about the novel coronavirus that is spreading rapidly throughout the world and that is causing the illness called COVID-19. We are monitoring this quickly-moving environment. We expect to share long-term plans for the remainder of the semester in the coming days. For now, I write once again to remind you of what you can do to prevent spreading the virus and illness, and what to do if you feel ill, whether from a cold, the flu, or from what you suspect could be exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 and the Flu

  • The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and a general feeling of being unwell. Keep in mind that young people and people who are healthy may contract COVID-19 and have no symptoms at all; however, you can still transmit the disease to others.
  • By contrast, flu symptoms are fever, upper respiratory illness, chills, fever, body aches, tiredness, and a general feeling of being unwell.
  • Both illnesses are highly contagious, and both illnesses warrant extra precautions so that you protect yourself and others from transmission.

Prevention

These are the most important things you can do to prevent exposure to and transmission of coronavirus illnesses (which cause COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold):

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds—sing the Happy Birthday song twice) using soap and water. It is especially important that you wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching surfaces that others have touched. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then discard the tissue immediately and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Do not share eating utensils, such as cups, plates, or cutlery; do not share towels or bedding; do not share any items that can transmit saliva.
  • Maintain good health practices, such as getting plenty of sleep.
  • Clean, with soap and water, and then sanitize, with a commercial sanitizer such as Lysol or a diluted product containing bleach, any surfaces that are touched frequently: phones, remote controls, tables, doorknobs, faucets, etc.
  • Practice social distancing—do not attend large indoor gatherings, especially off-campus; avoid air travel; keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others; do not shake hands, hug, or kiss.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, travel abroad at this time. If you disregard this advice and travel abroad or on a cruise, you must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.
  • Keep current with CDC recommendations and with the Johns Hopkins map that tracks the spread of the illness. This is the map used by all of the major news agencies and by the CDC. Do not travel to areas of the United States or other countries where there are multiple cases of infection or where states of emergency have been declared.

What to Do if You Are Ill

  • Contact the Office of Student Health Services at studenthealth@hawks.huntingdon.edu for an appointment.
  • Notify the Office of Student Affairs that you are ill.
  • Self-quarantine by staying in a room by yourself and not interacting with others to the greatest degree possible.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you know you have been exposed to COVID-19 (you were in a gathering with someone else who has been diagnosed with the disease and were near that person for more than a few minutes and/or had physical contact with that person; you have cared for a person with COVID-19; you have cared for someone who is suspected of exposure to COVID-19; or you have traveled to an area in the United States that has a high level of COVID-19 incidents, such as any U.S. state where a state of emergency has been declared, self-quarantine for at least 14 days and notify the Office of Student Health Services and the Office of Student Affairs.

The Huntingdon Attendance Policy

Huntingdon’s Student Attendance Policy has been amended temporarily in order to excuse absences attributed to documented respiratory illness and to make sure those absences are not counted among the number of absences allowed for student-athletes. Please note that, in order for an absence to be excused in accordance with the policy amendment, a student MUST visit the Office of Student Health Services in order to obtain or provide medical documentation. The attendance system has been updated to include a designation specific to this temporary amendment. The absence type related to respiratory illness can only be inputted by the Office of Student Health Services based on supporting documentation generated from or received by that office. If you are ill and live in campus housing, you must make an appointment with the Office of Student Health Services by emailing studenthealth@hawks.huntingdon.edu. If you are ill and you commute to campus or have returned home for the duration of your illness, you must make an appointment with the Office of Student Health Services to present documentation from your physician or clinic upon your return to campus.

Huntingdon Measures for Student, Faculty, and Staff Wellness

If you live on campus, you know that RDs have delivered supplies to rooms and have discussed with you and other occupants the proper ways to clean and sanitize surfaces. Please, Hawks, utilize those practices. Classrooms are also equipped with cleaning wipes and tissues. Please use them to keep your space germ-free.

Huntingdon is restricting the use of our internal facilities by outside groups and reviewing each request on a case-by-case basis. As you know, we worked with the Montgomery Symphony to move the Vann Vocal Institute events, March 12–14, to a location off-campus.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Visitors from Outside the College

Whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms, visitors who have been in locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure within the past 14 days are not allowed to visit campus or attend College events. In addition, visitors who have had direct contact with a patient confirmed to have COVID-19 or with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19 are not allowed to visit campus or attend College events within 14 days of such contact.

Varsity Athletics

Protocols have been established related to athletic travel, are currently in place, and will be evaluated continuously. Unless otherwise noted, Huntingdon’s intercollegiate athletic programs are continuing as scheduled. Within Huntingdon’s athletic conference, the USA-South, Berea College has suspended athletic competition for the spring.

College Events

No restrictions on events that are planned by College faculty, staff, or students and that involve only internal audiences have been made at this time. Please be advised that this policy may change at any time with very short notice.

Will Huntingdon Cancel Classes?

I’m sure you are aware that other colleges and universities have taken such measures as closing the campus and/or residential facilities; canceling classes, events, or travel-study; moving classes online; and other restrictions. So far, Huntingdon has made the decision to postpone the Huntingdon Plan trip to Ireland scheduled for spring break; has amended the attendance policy (see above); and has limited the use of internal facilities by outside groups. We continue to monitor the news and professional higher education recommendations and are ready to take proactive steps immediately should other changes become warranted.

Your health and well-being are of paramount importance to us. Above all, we want you to be safe and well.

Faithfully your president,

J. Cameron West

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