Dear Lawrence Community,
As many of you have heard, the United States federal government declared the 2019 novel coronavirus (or 2019-nCon) a public health emergency in the United States and instituted travel restrictions that affect travel to and from China. I write today to update our campus community on the coronavirus, including guidelines to prevent the spread of viruses and available campus resources. On February 5, 2020, public health officials advised that there is one confirmed case of the coronavirus in Wisconsin. The patient had travelled recently to China and has been quarantined. We have no suspected or confirmed cases at Lawrence.
Public health officials have advised that our community remains at low risk for exposure and recommend the following practices as the best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including influenza and other common winter ailments:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home or away from public areas when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get a flu vaccine if you have not yet done so.
Self-Care tips for respiratory illnesses may be found here: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/wellness/health/common-questions-and-answers.
Center for Disease Control Coronavirus Guidance
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only considers people at risk for coronavirus if they:
- Are experiencing fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (such as cough, shortness of breath)
AND in the last 14 days, before experiencing symptoms:
- Have a history of travel from Wuhan City, China OR
- Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019 nCoV while that person was ill.
- Are experiencing fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (such as cough, shortness of breath) AND have had close contact with an ill person with a laboratory confirmed 2019 nCoV diagnosis.
The CDC is closely monitoring the outbreak caused by this virus and, regarding campus events, advises: “[c]urrently, there is no basis for changing business as usual regarding housing, campus events, and other circumstances under which large groups of people will be gathering. There is no indication for use of masks by the general public at this time.” Please be assured that Lawrence community members’ activities may not be restricted based on perceived national origin, race, or travel history.
For more information please contact Wellness Services or visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Students who have health-related questions, can contact Nurse Jill Drier, in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center. University employees are encouraged to work closely with their health care providers or the Employee Assistance Program to receive additional medical or wellness support.
The Crisis Management Team and Health Center continue to closely monitor the situation while following guidance from public health professionals regarding the coronavirus and will share information with the community as needed.
We understand that community members may be affected by the spread of the virus and impacted by travel limitations. Please know that we have many supportive resources on campus (see below) that we encourage students to use when they are experiencing anxiety or stress:
Health Center: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/wellness/health
Wellness Initiatives: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/wellness/wellu
Additional Campus Resources
Campus Safety: https://www.lawrence.edu/info/services/campus-safety
Center for Academic Success: https://www.lawrence.edu/academics/academic-success
Diversity & Intercultural Center: http://www.lawrence.edu/students/resources/diversity
International Student Services: http://www.lawrence.edu/students/resources/international
Office of Diversity Inclusion Bias Incident Report: https://www.lawrence.edu/info/offices/diversity-and-inclusion/report-bias-motivated-incidents
Spiritual & Religious Life: https://www.lawrence.edu/info/offices/spiritual-and-religious-life
Christopher D. Card
Vice President for Student Life
Crisis Management Team Chair (interim)