For the most up-to-date information, please see Denison’s primary COVID-19 Coronavirus information page.
Fri, Mar 6, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff,
We are writing to update you on COVID-19 Coronavirus and provide current information about the ways we are responding to this evolving situation. There are no suspected cases of COVID-19 at Denison and no confirmed cases in the state of Ohio. However, the coronavirus continues to spread, both globally and domestically, and we are continuing our efforts to anticipate and plan for any outbreaks on campus. We are committed to preventing the spread of the virus on campus, minimizing the disruption of campus, and helping all of our students to complete the semester. Achievement of these goals rests on the involvement of every member of the campus community.
We have established a COVID-19 webpage and will update it frequently, including additions to the Q&A section based on questions we’ve received from community members. If you have a question that is not included on the website, please email COVID19@denison.edu.
Over the last two weeks, Denison has issued guidance to the campus to exercise extreme caution in planning international travel and to monitor travel advisories. Several US states have now declared emergencies in association with the virus and the global environment continues to evolve rapidly. We have restricted university-sponsored travel, both internationally and domestically, and developed post-travel protocols to maintain the health of the campus and our community.
As we head into Spring Break, we ask for the community’s support in providing information on your upcoming travel plans. We ask too that you review the guidance below, which is informed by official guidance of the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Please read the following with care. This is complicated!
- Travel Registration
We have created a Travel Registration Form to log our campus community’s travel locations over Spring Break and throughout the month of March. This centralizes information on all college-sponsored travel including conferences, professional meetings, class trips, athletic events, etc. Faculty and staff who are planning university-sponsored travel are required to share these plans through this form.
- We are also asking that all faculty and staff to share through this form any personal travel plans that will take you out of the state of Ohio.
- We have made this same request to all students with regard to any college-sponsored or personal travel plans that will take them out of the state of Ohio.
- This information will be used to help us:
- Alert travelers returning from areas where Warning Levels have been raised, especially when self-monitoring or self-quarantining is important.
- Identify anyone who, as a result of changing travel advisories, should be asked to self-quarantine, and/or to provide resources and support.
- Assist with and expedite the investigation of any outbreak that might occur in our community.
- Updated International Travel Guidance and Post-Travel Planning
In addition, we are currently restricting travel to countries designated as Level 2 by the CDC.
Any student, faculty or staff member returning from a Level 3 OR Level 2 country will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus before returning. This is consistent with the most recent guidance from the CDC and is important to preventing any spread of the virus to campus.
It will be critical that anyone traveling outside the US to continue to monitor the CDC designation of countries they enter, even just for flight connections or layovers. Designations can change overnight and our practices will continue to correspond with the most recent advisories. If, for example, you travel to a country that is currently a Level 1 but that designation changes to a Level 2 while you are traveling, you will be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine off campus.
- Domestic Travel
Denison is reviewing all domestic, university-sponsored travel. There is no established national standard on domestic travel. We are carefully scrutinizing university-sponsored travel to states where a health emergency has been declared. We are reviewing plans on a case-by-case basis, assessing where our students are traveling, the number of confirmed cases and their location within the state, new state and local health alerts, public information about our destinations and points of transfer, and input from the trip’s coordinator.
We encourage all members of the campus community to undertake a similar assessment of domestic locations where you plan to travel over Spring Break. We will follow any emerging CDC guidance with regard to self-quarantining for domestic travelers.
- Supporting Students
We fully understand that the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation may have a disruptive impact on students’ travel plans. Students who face a late-breaking change in plans can access information about spring break housing on our MyDenison page. Regular applications for on-campus housing during Spring Break have closed. Late applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis if there are extraordinary circumstances related to the global pandemic. We encourage students to contact firstname.lastname@example.org over the next 48-72 hours to begin a conversation about changing needs regarding housing.
Some students may need to undergo a self-quarantine. Because we have a very limited number of on-campus spaces that can be used for self-quarantines, we will ask students to self-quarantine elsewhere whenever possible. Students who must self-quarantine will not be permitted to attend classes or other campus events.
In the event that any of your students are quarantined, or even that local conditions should change such that the College suspends on-campus operations, we would hope to help students complete the semester, to the greatest degree possible. A message will follow this afternoon from the Office of the Provost and Educational Technology Services regarding academic planning and the COVID-19 situation.
- Prevention and Self-care
Finally, it is important that we continue to message that, whatever your plans in the next few weeks, we should all be taking actions to protect ourselves and one another. Below are CDC recommendations about handwashing—the most important preventative measure you can take— and other ways of reducing the spread of germs. You will soon see much more public information on campus about prevention of illness.
- Wash your hands frequently, or use commercial hand sanitizers, especially after touching objects in public areas.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid coughing directly into your hand. When coughing or sneezing, cough into the bend of your elbow or a tissue.
- Take good care of yourself - i.e., adequate sleep, consume a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water.
- If you are sick, please stay home and avoid contact with others.
Please continue to check the Denison COVID-19 webpage for additional updates and information.
We know that this is a stressful time for many in our community, and that the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 may be adding to your concerns. We wish it were otherwise, but we’ll get through this as a campus community! Our overarching concern is preserving the health and wellbeing of all Denisonians. Thank you for being a part of these efforts.