Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Update to Faculty and Staff re: Travel and Events
Dear Faculty and Staff,
NIU continues to monitor closely the dynamic developments for coronavirus (COVID-19) with a focus on the health and wellbeing of our university community. Herein, I’d like to provide you with an update and advise you about the actions we expect you to take. With guidance from the DeKalb County Health Department, and in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are doing the following:
International and Domestic Travel: At this time, we are prohibiting all university-sponsored travel to countries that have a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice. which as of March 10, 2020 is China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Any faculty, staff or students who are traveling in these areas, including airport layovers, are not to return to NIU and should follow CDC self-quarantine guidelines for 14 days.
While we are not prohibiting future university-related international or domestic travel, we would prefer that you defer travel during this time of uncertainty. The university will support you in making other arrangements and reimburse related expenses that are nonrefundable.
It’s prudent for all of us to consider the risks associated with any form of travel given the spread of COVID19. These include exposure to the virus, challenges with return travel and the potential need to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.
University Events: While the university is not requiring the cancellation of any events at this time, we encourage those of you who are scheduled to host events to use good judgment and:
- Consider the following when determining whether to proceed, postpone or cancel:
- Is the event essential – meaning something that cannot be replicated at another time or conducted easily via available technology instead of face-to-face?
- Is it a large or small event?
- How closely will the event participants be required to interact?
- Are participants coming from an area of high exposure?
- Will participants include members of a high-risk population, such as older adults or those with health issues?
- If participants traveling from out of state or the US are impacted by travel restrictions or concerns, could absences impact the program?
- Are you willing to reimburse participants who must cancel?
- Communicate with participants in advance about the expectation that they will reconsider their participation or attendance if they are not feeling well, come from an area of high exposure or are a high-risk population. such as older adults or those with health issues.
- Limit social gestures such as shaking hands or hugging.
- Provide coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention supplies for event staff and participants, including sinks with soap, hand sanitizers and tissues.
- Plan for staff absences. Event staff might need to stay home if they become sick, or they might need to stay home to care for someone else. Identify critical job functions and positions, and plan for alternative coverage by cross-trained staff.
Cleaning and Prevention:
Our facilities team has been working diligently to disinfect “high-touch” surfaces daily in public areas (e.g. tables, doorknobs, door push plates, light switches, handrails and student desks). We’ve also added additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the university. Posters promoting good hygiene practices area also being distributed for all buildings.
As we shared previously, all faculty, staff and students who do not feel well are advised to stay home and check in with their personal physician. We will continue to update the university and NIU’s coronavirus (COVID19) site with relevant information.
We are all Huskies, and we all have a responsibility to look out for one another during this very challenging situation. I appreciate your support.