Dear EKU community,
With the global health concern for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), I want you to know how EKU is monitoring public health advisories and preparing for a potential response should the need arise.
EKU Pandemic Response Team
EKU has formed a pandemic response team that is now meeting weekly to assess and evaluate potential risks to our campus community. You are encouraged to visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for the latest information on risk and symptoms. We seek to strike the appropriate balance of facts vs. fear to take all necessary precautions, without increasing the natural anxiety for personal health and safety.
This rapidly changing information requires continued monitoring and possible adjustments to various facets of the University. Areas most likely to see modifications include international study, sponsored or elective travel, and public health protocols within EKU Public Safety, Environmental Health, Housing, Dining and Student Health Services. Representatives from these areas are in dialogue concerning best practices, current advisories and recommendations from the CDC. EKU is increasing sanitation measures as our community continues to experience seasonal flu and illness, in addition to the global health issues. An academic continuity plan is also being developed for campus wide implementation in the event health advisories would warrant any interruption to instruction.
EKU Travel Procedures
One area of heightened concern is international travel. EKU does not currently have any students, faculty or staff in approved study abroad programs in countries with restricted entry to the U.S. All international study programs are being continuously evaluated as the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) update guidelines.
With spring break approaching next week, it is prudent for all travelers to be mindful of any advisories for their destinations and avoid non-essential travel to any countries under Level 3 Warnings for widespread community transmission. To see the latest travel warnings, you are encouraged to visit the CDC’s travel information page.
Effective immediately: In accordance with the CDC recommendations, and in the interest of public health, any student or employee traveling to a country or region under a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is required to report their travel to EKU. Students should report travel and provide documentation to the EKU Dean of Students. Faculty and staff who have traveled to these areas should report travel and provide documentation to EKU Human Resources.
CDC guidelines call for a 14-day home isolation period for anyone traveling to Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries. The University must receive notification of your return to recognize the need for continued absences from work or class. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact a health professional immediately, and follow these CDC guidelines.
In addition to these recommendations, EKU will require any student or employee who has been in contact with or lives in the same household with anyone returning from or known to have traveled in Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries to also practice self-isolation for 14 days.
A growing number of U.S. states are reporting suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, so even domestic travel advisories should be reviewed and taken into consideration as you plan your personal or professional travel. The CDC provides daily updates on states reporting cases of illness.
As always, the best defense against the spread of illness is to follow responsible hygiene practices, something we can all implement as individuals. These recommendations include thorough and frequent handwashing, proper cough etiquette and limiting close contact with those experiencing symptoms of illness. The CDC offers detailed guidance on preventing the spread of illness.
In addition, please practice responsible behavior over spring break, avoiding situations where your health or safety could be at risk, or your judgment could be impaired. You are encouraged to also be mindful of personal hygiene in settings with large crowds and close accommodations or social environments where illness could be easily transmitted.
Additional EKU Resources and Information
Additional health advisory information specific to EKU is available at https://go.eku.edu/ncov. The LiveSafe app has also been updated to provide CDC updates under the Eastern Kentucky University info tab of the top menu.
I assure you that we will provide additional updates as needed to keep our community informed. Whether you are planning to travel or enjoy a “staycation” next week, I wish all of you a safe and healthy spring break.
Dr. David T. McFaddin
EKU Interim President