I am aware of the concerns and questions raised by the news of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading and want to assure you that we have a cross-functional group on campus that is closely monitoring this constantly shifting landscape. Maintaining health and ensuring the safety of our community is of utmost priority.
At this point, we are not aware of cases of COVID-19 in Idaho, but due to the recent outbreak in Washington and Oregon we have plans to ensure the continued health and safety of our students, staff, faculty and community. Director of Health Services Dr. Bryon Hemphill, and V.P. of Student Life Carey Cook are actively communicating with students, staff and faculty and encouraging them to follow recommendations from regional and national experts to prevent the spread of any bacteria and viruses on campus.
While we expect campus operations to continue as normal, Dr. Hemphill has provided us with steps created by the CDC that can be taken to protect yourself and others. These precautions are similar to how you would protect yourself from influenza:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Use your elbow to cover your mouth when coughing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home or in your dorms if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched objects and surfaces.
- Check the CDC travel information site before traveling outside of Idaho, especially as we near Spring Break. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
Currently, we are monitoring and evaluating all planned university-sponsored trips with particular attention being given to international travel. As new information becomes available and decisions are made, we will communicate with any impacted individuals.
The residence halls will remain open during Spring Break to accommodate students who do not wish to travel during this time. Many within our campus community will be traveling, however, and we are working with these individuals to monitor updated conditions of their destinations so any necessary precautions for their safety can be taken. Additionally, NNU has processes in place to ensure close monitoring of community health in the coming days and weeks that will continue upon return from Spring Break travels.
You can expect updates from me should they be needed as we monitor the situation. In the meantime, please join with me in praying for God’s peace as we journey through these weeks ahead.
May God bless you,
Joel K. Pearsall