COVID-19 Campus Update 3-25-20

March 25, 2020

According to Iowa public health officials there are now four confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Poweshiek County. One of the cases, according to credible sources, is within the City of Grinnell.

This news is sobering but not unexpected. As the number of reported cases in Iowa continues to grow, so too will the number of confirmed cases in Grinnell and other towns nearby. Two helpful resources tracking reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are:

The College has been working for weeks planning for the eventuality of a confirmed case in the City of Grinnell. While we are prepared, we do want to underscore the reality that, in the words of the Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Jerome Adams, “Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. So, test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else. Or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home.” To that end, as communicated on Monday only designated, operations-critical faculty and staff will have access to buildings on campus.

Important Prevention Reminders

Please continue to make prevention a priority and reach out for assistance, as needed.

  • Limit gatherings.
  • Do not congregate in common areas.
  • Make every effort to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet (~2 meters) from other people.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/upper arm.
  • Stay active as best you can.

Responsible Use of Personal Protective Equipment

Given the national shortage of masks, gloves, and other personal protective items that are vital to the well-being of first responders, healthcare workers, and those who are ill, the College is committed to the responsible use of such items.CDC guidelines make it clear that for people who are well, wearing masks is not an effective prevention step and squanders vital resources. Thank you to all for practicing responsible use of personal protective equipment. A special thanks to individuals on campus who are organizing to sew masks and coordinate mask donations for healthcare workers.

College COVID-19 Planning Teams and Groups

We continue to focus on our goals to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe including those most vulnerable in this situation; to support course and degree completion; and to not overburden students who are in financial need.

This work is being supported by several teams and groups meeting specifically to coordinate our COVID-19 response. Some of the groups meeting daily or even twice daily, to support achieving our goals include:

  • Emergency Operations Team meets twice daily to monitor global and local pandemic updates; coordinate resources necessary to support ongoing campus operations; enact measures to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; manage support for the broader community; and provide ongoing updates to our Campus Community.
  • Academic Continuity group meets daily to discuss policies and processes that shape the academic experience, address questions as they emerge, and direct any policy or procedural changes to appropriate faculty and staff governance bodies. It will begin daily messaging for faculty and staff starting today. The group includes representatives from Executive Council, the Dean’s office, CTLA, DLAC SGA, the Registrar, FM and ITS.
  • ITS team meets daily to review remote technology support and related issues. It includes representatives from ITS, DLAC, Assistive technology, and Academic Support (ASAs). It covers instructional continuity, remote working, operational continuity, cybersecurity, and communications.

This list is by no means complete and we know that all offices and departments are mobilizing themselves in extraordinary ways to address new challenges, as we prepare to return to coursework on Monday.

Transportation Services Reminders

  • The College is still coordinating individual airport shuttle service for students trying to get home. Reminder: students who need help with travel should email Meg Jones Bair regarding your travel assistance needs.
  • In-town shuttles for non-essential purposes such as shopping have been suspended for the time being. We will be working on new options for students seeking such transportation assistance.
  • Campus Safety will no longer provide non-medical escort services in order to focus on higher priority safety support.
  • Call 911 or Campus Safety at 641-269-4600 for emergencies.

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