President Mark A. Heckler: Update on 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Campus Safety

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
Last Updated: March 6, 2020 at 2:15 p.m.
Posted: March 4, 2020

Valparaiso University is closely monitoring the 2019 Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. College administrators have convened to discuss guidelines and implement recommendations made by government and public health agencies. A Valparaiso University task force will coordinate continual updates and campus communications, and subsequent emails will follow to keep all students, faculty, and staff informed as the situation evolves.

A preparedness plan is in place, and Valparaiso University will continue to work closely with the Porter County Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health to adjust and refine University-wide plans as the situation evolves and align resources accordingly.

At this time, there are NO suspected cases on our campus or in Porter County. There is one case in the state of Indiana. However, we are taking all reasonable precautions, which includes close monitoring of the evolving information coming from local, state, and federal agencies.

We are aware of reports that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has spread to other countries and continue to monitor the situation. We encourage any University community members who are traveling for Spring Break or other reasons to closely monitor travel advisories through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department. Spring Break trips to China, Thailand, and Italy have been canceled due to travel guidelines and for the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
    • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

At this time, the CDC Travel Guidelines recommend avoiding all nonessential travel to China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea and that individuals returning from these areas stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States. This situation continues to evolve, and ports of entry will determine which individuals require screening. Valparaiso University continues to monitor updates from the CDC and State Department, particularly as they relate to any students, faculty, or staff who may be traveling internationally as well as to any states with confirmed coronavirus cases.

Resources

Please stay abreast of this dynamic situation using these resources:

CLICK HERE for the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19.

CLICK HERE for the most up-to-date information from the Indiana Department of Health on COVID-19.

CLICK HERE for rolling updates from the World Health Organization on COVID-19.

Valparaiso University Student Health Center

For emergencies, please call 911

Email: health.center@valpo.edu

Phone: 219.464.5060

Hours of operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – noon

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide further updates to the community as necessary.

The safety and well-being of all members of the Valparaiso University community is our primary concern. Even as we focus on disease prevention, we remember that caring for our community is equally important. Valparaiso University is a global community, and you are encouraged to focus on the facts and come together as a diverse and inclusive community, supporting both one another and people affected by the outbreak. Let us do our utmost to uphold our values of mutual respect and support as a community and not allow fear to divide us in these times.