Dear AUSB Students,
I want to take this moment to update all of you on where the campus and the University stands with the developments of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 as a follow up to Chancellor’s Groves email of last week. Rest assured, the University is closely monitoring these developments. Recent news of people becoming infected demonstrates that the circumstances regarding the virus are changing rapidly. Antioch University leadership is developing plans to mitigate those impacts. Further information about the virus and the University’s response is available at https://www.antioch.edu/resources/students/coronavirus.
It is important for all of us to take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illness, such as the flu, which we frequently see this time of year. COVID-19 and many other common respiratory viruses spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, such as when a person coughs or sneezes. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, the CDC recommends that individuals engage in everyday preventive measures to help stop the spread of germs and avoid illness, such as:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
- Do not share personal items such as water bottles, smokes and/or vapes.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick. The CDC recommends that individuals remain home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (i.e., chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance).
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
In addition to these personal prevention measures, you should avoid all travel to any locations for which CDC has issued a Level 3 travel notice. See the CDC website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
Outbreaks involving COVID-19 evolve quickly and recommendations from public health officials may change as new information becomes available. Please check the following websites often for updated information:
- U.S. CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/summary.html
- Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Disease Control Department (805) 681-5280
Additional resources to review/follow:
- About Coronavirus (COVID-19)from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- American Public Health Association: https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/communicable-disease
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
If you develop symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, or shortness of breath), you should:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer.
- Stay home and avoid close contact with other people.
- Seek health advice by phone from either a healthcare provider or contact Santa Barbara Public Health
- Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell the provider or office about recent travel and symptoms. They will also screen you with these questions.
- Practice strict respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene including covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- If available, wear an N-95 mask when traveling outside of the home (e.g.,to a physician’s office)
Faculty and students have asked about anticipated impacts to instruction and what steps they should take. At present, the number of people with confirmed infections is Low. Correspondingly, we have had no impacts to our current instructional programming and we have encouraged faculty to continue the normal course of instruction at this time. This is an evolving situation, both nationally and globally, so circumstances could change rapidly.
Public health officials have recommended that people potentially exposed to the virus, or those demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19, self-isolate and stay home from school and work. If you feel you need to self-isolate, please work with your faculty so that accommodations can be made while you are away from class. We have asked faculty to treat this instance as if you were experiencing a health issue that keeps you from attending class. No doctor’s note will be asked of you. Faculty/Instructors should provide course materials and offer the opportunity for make-up work as they normally would. We are strongly encouraging faculty to make course materials and assignments fully available through Sakai, Antioch’s Learning Management System, as this will make it easy to manage the distribution of materials, assignments, and feedback to all students.
As we continue to monitor the events associated with COVID-19, we are developing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios. For example, in the event of suspended campus operations, we are planning to support faculty in offering their courses online through mobilizing Zoom and as of this morning, all faculty have Zoom Pro accounts.
Again, the University’s response is available at https://www.antioch.edu/resources/students/coronavirus.
I send best wishes and please feel free to contact me or the program chairs or program directors in your respective programs if you need additional assistance or information.
Barbara Lipinski, PhD, JD
Provost and Chief Executive Officer
Antioch University Santa Barbara
602 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101