Updates from the Provost
- Author: Monday, March 2nd, 2020
Western Kentucky University is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. While no instances of COVID-19 have been reported in Kentucky, it is prudent that as a community, we educate ourselves, we remain aware of the situation as it develops and we prepare to respond should the need arise.
The many unknowns and uncertainties about this virus make it imperative that we turn to credible sources for up-to-date information. Information for the WKU community can be found here. That site includes a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a leading source of information about COVID-19.
WKU’s emergency management team is working with appropriate groups across campus, and in our region, to refine our response plan to best support our campuses and assure continued operations in the face of an outbreak. As those plans come together, we will share them with you.
There are no current plans to cancel classes due to the low risk in our region. However, this is a good time to think about preparing for any situation that could disrupt class schedules, how we can complete courses outside of face-to-face instruction and how we can support our community in an emergency situation.
Teaching faculty and staff should consider how classes might be delivered to accommodate students who request to go home due to illness. They should also consider alternate delivery methods along with opportunities and expectations associated with alternative assignments or makeup work. In order to be aware of the many options available to teaching faculty and staff, Marko Dumancic, Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), and the CITL staff will be available for consultation. Please feel free to reach out to them as you consider how you might navigate these potential teaching challenges.
For those planning to travel, whether for university business or a spring break getaway, check for travel advisories, remain aware of your surroundings and take steps to limit your exposure—steps that can help you avoid other diseases such as the flu.
You can reduce the risk of spreading viruses, including COVID-19, flu and the common cold, by taking these simple steps:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if water is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean high-touch surfaces, such as door knobs, handrails and sinks, daily with disinfectant wipes.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others, but seek medical attention if you experience worsening symptoms, such as an increasing fever or difficulty breathing.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Above all, we must remain supportive of each other as a community. Uncertainty causes stress. Be aware of those who may need help dealing with that stress and encourage them to seek the assistance of professionals, such as those in our Counseling and Testing Center.
Stay healthy and safe.
Cheryl L. Stevens, PhD