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York College Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

March 06, 2020
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March 11, 2020:

To the York College Community:

It is understandable that there is growing concern regarding the possible spread of COVID-19 to our area and our campus. To date, we do not have any evidence that this is the case, and we continue to monitor and evaluate our situation. We are following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In addition, we have taken extra precautions, including delaying large gatherings on campus, postponing international travel, and recently, consolidating our dining services to Main Campus. 

We had a number of students who traveled abroad during winter break. Several were in Italy, which as you know, is a high-infection area. Those students returned a week ago to their homes, where they have self- quarantined. They are not on campus. One faculty member who traveled to Italy has self-quarantined as well. 

To our knowledge, no other community members have traveled abroad to highly infectious sites over break. Other faculty, administrators, and students who traveled on College-sponsored trips abroad were in areas designated as low-risk by the CDC (Level 1). They are being monitored by Health Services. CDC guidelines do not recommend that they self-quarantine. At this time, we have no confirmed cases among our campus community members. 

This is a very uncertain and anxious time for all of us. Every college must monitor its environment and make timely, appropriate decisions for its campus community. As I indicated in other communications, York College has been preparing for its response to COVID-19. At this time, our assessment does not indicate that we should close campus; however, this could change. 

Our faculty are prepared to offer courses using various technologies should face-to-face classes be moved online. It is uncertain when this might happen and the length of time it would be necessary to teach in this fashion. Should we move to online learning, it is vitally important that students communicate with their instructors. Faculty will assist you to ensure you complete the course and earn the credits for which you are enrolled. 

There is much you can do to help us. First, let Health Services (healthcenter@ycp.edu) know if you have traveled to a high-risk area or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with the virus. Second, if you exhibit symptoms, stay home and contact Health Services for guidance. Also, contact your instructors. Not every respiratory infection or illness is COVID-19. Third, practice recommended hygiene. Fourth, as you contemplate travel outside of campus, strongly consider avoiding areas of the country where the CDC is reporting the spread of COVID-19. 

Your safety is my highest priority. I will keep you informed. Together we will get through this. 

March 6, 2020:

To the York College community from President Gunter-Smith:

There is growing concern on many college campuses about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), especially regarding students traveling abroad. In response, I have convened a campus-wide task force to monitor the situation and to coordinate our planning and response related to COVID-19. The College is following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.  

Student Travel Abroad

With respect to students traveling abroad, all who have been affected by travel restrictions or recommendations will receive help to ensure their academic progress is not affected.

Students who had planned to study in countries identified by the CDC as Level 3 or Level 2 – widespread or sustained community transmission – will remain on campus throughout the spring semester.  

Students currently studying abroad have been asked to return home. Those who have been residing in areas identified by the CDC as higher risk are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. Those who have been residing in areas not currently assessed as higher risk by CDC will be monitored by our Health Center personnel.

At this time, there is no recommendation to test individuals who are asymptomatic. This is a very dynamic situation, and we will continue to monitor the situation and guidelines. 

Student Academic Progress

We are committed to continuing to ensure that students are able to earn credit hours for classes in which they are enrolled. Should there be a need to suspend face-to-face teaching for a period of time, or should faculty or students be advised to self-quarantine, courses will be delivered electronically.

I will keep you informed of the College’s response as guidelines and recommendations warrant.

For additional information, please consult the following resources:

  • Students with personal health questions: contact the Health Center at 717-849-1615 or healthcenter@ycp.edu.
  • Students with course-related questions: email your professor directly.
  • Faculty and staff with personal health questions: contact your medical provider. 
  • Staff with work-related questions: contact your supervisor.
  • Academic policy-related inquiries and College travel (faculty):contact the Provost Office
    at 717-815-1231.
  • College travel (students): contact the Study Abroad Center at 717-815-2238 or studyabroad@ycp.edu.
  • Public information related to the virus: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPennsylvania Department of Health

 

February 28, 2020:

COVID-19 Update for York College Campus Community

A Crisis Policy Team is developing a plan to address the potential impact of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) on York College and its community. As an institution, we are committed to keeping our community informed about the College's actions and the best way to stay healthy. 

At this time, the Team is recommending that campus offices and programs discuss alternative ways to deliver services should it be deemed necessary to close campus. (It is important to note that there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 associated with York College.)

In addition, we urge all members of our community to take steps to protect themselves from illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following preventative steps for any communicable disease:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Stay home when you are sick. (You must be 24 hours fever-free without medication to return to class or work.)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Additional information is available from the CDC.

For additional information, please consult the following resources: 

  • Students with personal health questions: contact the Health Center at 717-849-1615 or healthcenter@ycp.edu.
  • Faculty and staff with personal health questions: contact your medical provider. 
  • Academic policy-related inquiries and College travel (faculty): contact the Provost's Office at 717-815-1231.
  • College travel (students): contact the Study Abroad Center at 717-815-2238 or studyabroad@ycp.edu.
  • Public information related to the virus: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPennsylvania Department of Health

 

January 31, 2020

I am sure that many of you are aware of the recent outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. We at York College are staying in touch with local, state and national sources to monitor the situation. 

Please see the information below -- provided by the American College Health Association -- regarding symptoms, transmission and prevention of respiratory viruses. If you have any questions, please contact the YCP Health Center at 717.849.1615.

Amy Downs
Director of Health Service

What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

2019-nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance. 

Symptoms and transmission:

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing

Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

Prevention:

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • 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 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, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other items that are touched frequently.

Additional information:

Please refer to the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

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