In an email to Bellarmine University faculty, staff and students, Dr. Helen-Grace Ryan, vice president for Student Affairs, provided information about the university's preparation for coronavirus (COVID-19) risks, even though the risk to campus is currently
believed to be low.
Ryan said that the university is monitoring communication from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and reviewing its campus pandemic response protocols, and that the university will keep the community informed via email as needed. The latest information
on the virus in the U.S. is available on the CDC website
, along with updated travel notices
for countries that are experiencing community transmission.
"We are in communication with student groups who will be traveling both domestically and internationally over spring break and with those who are currently abroad," she said. Bellarmine's spring break is March 2-8, 2020.
She provided guidance from the CDC on ways to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick. Do not attend class or work.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to
others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings, including at home or in a health care facility.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Earlier this month, Bellarmine suspended all university travel to China, where the vast majority of infections have taken place so far.
Ryan asked anyone returning to campus from areas that may be affected by coronavirus to contact Student Health Services