March 6, 2020
Residence Life: COVID-19
As you prepare to head back to campus from spring break we want to send some helpful tips for your return. If you have traveled out of the country over spring break, please read this information carefully. We on campus are monitoring the ongoing concern of the Coronavirus, COVID-19 and want to share some precautions and information from state officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed guidance for universities and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) is promoting the use of the same. This can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities.html. This includes guidance on what to do now (when there is no active transmission in our communities) and planning that could be helpful in the weeks and months ahead. Partners to assist in planning include your local health department and emergency manager.
Specific to several current questions:
- In line with guidance from the CDC, we strongly encourage suspension of all campus-sponsored international travel for students, faculty and staff, especially to those countries with travel advisories on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html). This would include travel over your spring break holidays.
- To reduce the potential for spread, we are asking anyone who has traveled to a country under a Level 3 CDC travel warning within the last 14 days to immediately self-isolate before returning to campus. Currently, this includes China, Iran, South Korea and Italy, but should be tracked over time using the CDC travel page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. Please be certain to notify your local health department any time such is being implemented for further guidance and support. With travel guidance above, the number of individuals impacted by this should be minimal.
- Prevention is key, and we ask that you share health care tips with your campus communities. These tips include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. Make sure you wash your thumbs, wrists and between your fingers. This is the best defense against potential spread of all viruses.
- Stay home when you are ill.
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your arm, and then promptly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Get plenty of rest/sleep.
- We also encourage you to help people understand who should and should not be tested for COVID-19 within your campus communities. Not everyone with colds or respiratory tract symptoms need to be tested. At present, given we do not have evidence of active spread within West Virginia communities, testing is recommended only for those who have symptoms AND a potential route of exposure. This includes:
- Individuals who, in the 14 days prior to symptom onset, have a history of either close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient OR of travel from affected geographic areas with community transmission.
- When testing is appropriate, healthcare providers arrange such through their local health department or the WVDHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.
While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia, the state is taking the potential spread very seriously and activating every precautionary measure possible. Important is active planning among community partners at the local and state level. We remain in close contact and coordination with the Governor’s Office, WVDHHR, and those across state government to ensure we continue sharing the latest with you. We appreciate your continued partnership and information sharing as we all work to protect those on our campuses and within our communities.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Student Services.
Vice President and Chief Student Services Officer