Campus Message - March 6, 2020
For the most recent campus messages, please visit our Coronavirus news center.
6 March 2020
Students and Employees,
Valdosta State is closely following and implementing all guidelines for the novel coronavirus as prescribed by the GA Department of Public Health. The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. VSU has a working task force in place to monitor and plan appropriately.
There are no reported cases of exposure to the virus at Valdosta State. However, on March 2, there were two reported cases of the virus in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health and the University System of Georgia have systems in place to monitor and address possible infectious diseases. In addition, VSU has comprehensive plans to address emergencies, including infectious diseases.
Given the dynamic nature of this situation, VSU is regularly providing updates and we encourage all to visit VSU’s website at: https://www.valdosta.edu/health-advisory.
Class Attendance for Faculty and Students
Currently, there is no change to class schedules. We continue to recommend that anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms should remain at home to prevent the spread of illness. Students should seek medical assistance from the Student Health Center and employees from their local medical provider. We have asked faculty to modify class attendance policies, assignment due dates and missed exams and quizzes to accommodate students who have medical absences. Students who feel they have not been given this flexibility should contact Student Affairs at 229-333-5941.
Employees who are ill should stay home. Managers are encouraged to remain flexible with work schedules and deadlines. Managers, in consultation with Human Resources, should also start looking at the possibility of telework as an option for their individual employees who are recovering but are healthy enough to perform work.
Effective immediately, Valdosta State is requiring that all large-scale campus events adopt enhanced public health protocols. Event organizers should increase available hand sanitizer as well as adopt more stringent pre- and post-cleaning regimens. This includes using cleaning products that disinfect and focusing on shared surfaces such as tabletops, door handles, and the like. If you have any questions about cleaning practices, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students, faculty, staff, and international guests visiting or returning to campus from countries at a Level 3 or higher designation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days prior to returning to campus. If, after 14 days, you show no symptoms of illness, you can return to normal campus activities. If you experience flu-like symptoms, contact the Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH.
Students living on campus who need help finding a location for isolation should contact Housing and Residence Life at 229-333-5920.
Faculty and staff who need to self-isolate under these travel or illness conditions should work with their immediate supervisor to arrange for telecommuting and/or the means to conduct instruction online.
Note the list of Level 3 countries is subject to change. The most up-to-date list is available on the CDC's website.
Valdosta State-Sponsored Travel and Study Abroad
All university-related travel to countries listed at Level 3 or higher on the CDC’s travel advisory have been canceled.
As we approach Spring Break, anyone planning to travel is encouraged to stay up to date with current travel alerts from the U.S. State Department and the CDC. Currently, both organizations are recommending that people should avoid nonessential travel to any country designated by CDC as a Warning Level 3 or higher. This list is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
Spring programs currently underway in countries that have not received a CDC travel notice are continuing as planned. VSU will continue to monitor any changes in travel status announced by the CDC and will communicate immediately should circumstances change.
Level 1 Countries: With concern for the safety of our students and employees, Valdosta State University policy for study abroad for students is to allow programs to CDC Watch Level 1 countries to proceed as planned without additional travel safety review.
Level 2 Countries: Avoid Travel to Level 2 areas as defined on the CDC website. These areas have sustained transmission of the virus. Study abroad programs and other university-sponsored international travel may be permitted, after a careful review of the study abroad proposal or travel to conference/performance location, to Level 2 countries.
Level 3 and Level 4 Countries: No university-sponsored travel of any kind for students, faculty or staff (including study abroad programs) is permitted to Level 3 and Level 4 countries for the CDC and State Department travel advisory countries.
In the event of employee travel cancellation, VSU travel policy allows for reimbursement of some business-related expenses. Should you need to cancel travel to any of the countries affected by the travel ban, costs incurred in accordance with VSU travel polices may be reimbursable. If previously made travel plans are canceled, please seek a refund or travel voucher, and submit that documentation, along with notice of event cancellation to email@example.com.
If you are planning travel, we encourage purchasing refundable tickets, however, the difference in the cost of the flight should not exceed $150 (per State Travel Regulations). All flights should be booked at least 14 days, but no more than 30 days in advance.
We continue to encourage everyone to follow appropriate preventative strategies, as recommended by the CDC: wash hands regularly; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes with tissues; avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness.
Following an inventory of personal protective equipment, disinfectant cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer currently available on campus, VSU has placed additional orders to ensure there are sufficient reserves of these items on hand. To ensure maximum availability of these limited resources, please do not remove cleaning supplies or hand sanitizers from public areas.
Custodial staff will alter their cleaning practices to focus more on surface cleanliness and disinfection, particularly in common areas. Classrooms and computer labs will be prioritized, and Campus Recreation and the Student Union have increased cleaning frequency on each custodial shift. IT will conduct routine disinfecting schedules with Computer Lab Monitors.
We encourage you to visit the USG resource guide for the latest information concerning travel advisories and other guidance at www.usg.edu/coronavirus. You can also find additional information from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
As we continue to learn more, we’ll keep you updated through regular communications. Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Richard Carvajal
REPORT HEALTH CONCERNS
Key term: Close Contact - this is defined as being within six (6) feet of an individual for more than 15 minutes regardless of whether a face covering is worn.
EMPLOYEES DO NOT come on campus if you believe you have been in close contact with a person having COVID or yourself having symptoms or receiving a positive diagnosis. Instead, notify your supervisor of your absence, seek medical services from your primary care provider, and self-report your information by completing the online form or contacting HR directly at 229-333-5709.
STUDENTS DO NOT come on campus nor go directly to the Student Health Center if you believe you have been exposed to COVID. Instead, call the Health Services at 229-333-5886 to speak with a triage nurse over the phone. Additional guidance will be provided on how to access the health center facility. The health center remains open for walk-in patients with non-COVID medical needs.
Members of the campus community should report all instances of close contact with a person having COVID or themselves receiving a positive diagnosis of COVID. To assist with reporting, a COVID Self Reporting link has been added within MyVSU.
If you have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine, you should do so at your permanent home for the period given unless it should be extended due to remaining symptoms.