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COVID-19 Update: March 12, 2020

COVID-19 | 03.12.2020

Dear SMWC Community,

We are closely monitoring COVID-19 news for our region, state and country. I assembled a COVID-19 taskforce led by Dr. Janet Clark and Jaclyn Walters and they have been joined by Frankie Enochs, Greg Ewing, Aimee Janssen-Robinson, Lisa Pepperworth, Dee Reed and Josh Wood. The group meets frequently, reviews information and discusses multiple strategies for our College. Proactively, they have created a campus pandemic plan, and we will be communicating ongoing information frequently.

We are monitoring the decisions of colleges throughout the state. Yesterday, the Independent Colleges of Indiana hosted a conference call including each of the 30 private schools in Indiana. With our limited international population, small class sizes and no public transportation, we are at low risk and are choosing to remain open. Remember that there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Vigo County.

We are seeking to balance the health and safety of our campus community with the continuity of our academic programs. Accordingly, we will be limiting large gatherings and outside guests. Our goal is to minimize the threat of bringing the virus to our campus and its spread.

My prayer is that this inconvenience brings us closer to one another even as we are mindful of social distancing.

Blessings,
Dottie


Additional information from the SMWC COVID-19 Task Force:

The SMWC COVID-19 Task Force is working on behalf of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to provide information to its constituents about how the institution is handling the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

On March 6, 2020, the Indiana Department of Health identified its first case of COVID-19. As of March 12, the number has risen to twelve. There are no reported cases at SMWC or in Vigo County.

We are closely monitoring the recommendations by the CDC, the Indiana Department of Health and the World Health Organization. Here is important information as it relates to various College constituents:

  • At this time, SMWC will remain open and all classes will continue as scheduled on campus and online
  • Students who are in clinicals, internships, student teaching, practica or other experiential learning environments may be impacted and should anticipate communication and guidance by department
  • For residential students, the College is implementing a no-guest policy on residential floors

It is imperative that the College minimize the possibility of transmission and limit the possibility of “community spread” through new actions on our campus. While we have thus far not experienced any SWMC-associated cases of COVID-19, we are taking a proactive approach to preventing the spread of the virus and are asking individuals to take the following measures to reduce the potential spread:

Prevention

CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)

Social distancing

The CDC recommends the implementation of social distancing measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”

Cleaning and disinfecting

Our primary concern remains to keep our community as safe as possible. Cleaning of surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 virus and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. SMWC has completed several rounds of deep cleaning and disinfecting in all classrooms, public spaces, restrooms, computer labs and student common spaces. Facilities will continue to focus on these high traffic areas daily. There are approximately 55 hand-sanitizing stations on campus. Everyone is encouraged to use them if time does not allow hand washing with soap. In addition, classrooms are equipped with hand sanitizer.

SMWC Health Services Clinic

The SMWC Health Services Clinic is affiliated with Union Health and is up-to-date on the latest information about signs and symptoms of the virus. On campus, individuals experiencing flu-like illness (fever with cough or shortness of breath), are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention at the clinic or with a personal health care provider.

Updated information will continue to be provided as the situation changes. Please check the SMWC website for updates.