The Emergency Readiness Team and the International Travel Advisory Committee are meeting regularly to ensure that we are taking necessary steps to safeguard the campus community and to fulfill our academic obligations to our students. University administrators are aware of and taking into account the CDC’s Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Education and their Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease, both of which were updated this week.
A number of proactive measures are either complete or underway:
- The Global Engagement Office (GEO) is in regular contact with students studying abroad this semester. We are carefully monitoring the situation in each of the locations where we have students and faculty and are communicating location and program specific information to those students and their parents/guardians. GEO will continue to communicate directly with students and faculty who may be impacted by the spread of the virus.
- Students studying at the Daniel House this semester were notified this morning that effective March 9, Samford is suspending its study abroad program at the Daniel House. Lecture courses will continue online and will not be compromised; we will work with students on an individual basis for internships.
- The provost’s office is working with faculty to assure the university is prepared to deliver academic courses online through Canvas or other virtual modalities if the virus becomes widespread locally. By now all faculty should have the Canvas page for their respective courses published and accessible, with at minimum the syllabus posted including your Samford contact information. Remember, the Faculty Success Collaborative is offering Continuity of Instruction training; the next course will be on March 18 and you may register online.
- Faculty are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Continuity of Instruction plans for their school or college. These plans document how a unit will perform essential operations during an emergency situation or operational disruption.
- Administrative staff are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Continuity of Operation Plans (CoOPs) for their departments, as these are the plans for business continuity during an interruption.
- We have increased cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and restrooms in university buildings across campus.
- Personal travel by members of the Samford community to the areas the CDC lists as level 1, 2 or 3 risks for COVID-19 is strongly discouraged. Anyone who chooses to visit one of these areas will be subject to a 14-day quarantine and health care review. CDC guidance is changing almost daily.
- We are carefully reviewing previously scheduled university-related travel planned to occur in the weeks and months ahead. The most recent travel restriction information is always available on our university coronavirus webpage. University-related travel restrictions are subject to change on short notice.
Finally, while the risk of you contracting COVID-19 remains low, it is important that you not come to campus if you are ill. The CDC provides a helpful guide to preventing the spread of the virus. If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing transmission, contact your health care provider immediately. Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about any recent travel and your symptoms. If you are sick, you should not return to campus until you are cleared by a health care provider. Also, remember seasonal flu is still widespread in Alabama. It’s not too late to get the flu shot; they are available in University Health Services and you do not need an appointment.
As always, please keep in mind that this is a rapidly evolving situation and the recommendations in place today could change as the virus spreads and as new information is gained. We continue to carefully monitor this issue and additional updates will be forthcoming. If you plan to travel during the coming week, please be sure to check your Samford e-mail regularly and prior to returning to campus.
Thank you for your continued vigilance and cooperation in helping to ensure the health and safety of our community.