March 3, 2020
A Message from President Elaine Collins
NVU Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome back from February break. We are so pleased to resume our spring semester.
I wanted to be in touch with you about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) because I know that the health and wellness of the NVU Community is at the top of our minds. We understand that the media stories and recent cases of COVID-19 in New England and our neighboring states make this an anxious time for people. Please keep in mind that the CDC considers this virus mild in the majority of the population.
Northern Vermont University is in consistent and daily contact with the Vermont Department of Health (VT DOH) about protocols to keep our community safe. I want to reassure you that our recently returned travelers are in touch with the VT DOH and are voluntarily self-monitoring as outlined by the CDC and VT DOH. Additionally, an NVU official is in daily contact with our travelers during the self-monitoring period. I want to reinforce that guidelines from the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and VT DOH do not include quarantining/isolating individuals who are asymptomatic (i.e. without symptoms), simply based on their travel history or home address.
Required action item: Because there may be members of our community who have traveled to areas the CDC rates with a level 2 or 3 travel advisory due to COVID-19 outbreaks, we ask that any student, faculty, or staff who traveled to one of these areas within the past two weeks notify us about your travel. This would include China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, or Japan. Students must report this information to Dean of Students Jonathan Davis via email at Jonathan.Davis@NorthernVermont.edu; faculty and staff are to report this information to Dean of Administration Sharron Scott at Sharron.Scott@NorthernVermont.edu. Additionally, the VT DOH requests that all who have traveled to areas where there have been COVID-19 outbreaks, contact the VT DOH directly and closely monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms. The VT DOH will also educate any travelers on the COVID-19 symptoms and prevention tactics and assist with monitoring. To contact the VT DOH, call 211.
Stay-healthy practices: Continue to be diligent with your stay-healthy, flu-prevention practices. See details below my signature.
University travel: Stay tuned for an email about the status of all university international travel scheduled through April 30. University domestic travel is currently unaffected but will be reevaluated frequently and is subject to cancellation on a case-by-case basis.
Respect and kindness in our community: I also respectfully remind each of you that it is essential that everyone remain supportive, respectful, and welcoming toward the members of our community who were born, lived, or traveled to the areas of the world most affected by this global issue. NVU is committed to maintaining an academic community where every member can thrive in an environment that is free of all forms of discrimination.
NVU website is the information portal for COVID-19: We continue to add to our section on COVID-19 at NorthernVermont.edu/Coronavirus. Check back frequently for updated information and guidelines with this comprehensive source. We will upload a lengthy FAQ section later today. We will also notify you when there has been a significant update to the site.
Lastly, the administration and key staff are developing contingencies and plans should we see the Coronavirus at NVU. This contingency “in the event of” planning is something that all educational institutions do—whether the situation or emergency is created by an illness, weather, or other issue. NVU conducts emergency planning and response exercises as part of its regular preparedness for situations so we can best protect our community.
We will stay in frequent contact.
You can help avoid the spread of illness by following CDC guidelines for keeping healthy. No single action will provide complete protection from illness, but an approach combining the following steps can help decrease the likelihood of transmission.
- Stay home from work or class when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Scrub your hands at least 20 seconds, or roughly twice the length of the “Happy Birthday” song. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw the tissue away after you use it. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into clothing—i.e. your sleeve rather than your bare hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs and viruses spread that way.
- Get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.