BREAKING: Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic leads SCSU into caution

Coronavirus (Covid-19). Photo credit: cdc.gov

On March 11, 2020, an email was sent from SCSU President Robbyn Wacker to faculty, staff, and students regarding the recent plans the university has on the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State system office are closely following developments related to the international spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” read the email. “This situation is receiving the highest level of attention on our campus and within the Minnesota State system leadership.”

In addition, Provost Daniel Gregory and Faculty Association President Frances Kayona sent an email to faculty and staff earlier this afternoon notifying them to prepare for a possible change from face-to-face instruction to become solely online.

“We also recommend that faculty begin preparing courses to be able to continue without face-to-face meetings in anticipation of potential suspensions or closures,” said the email.

At this time all in person classes after spring break will continue as planned.

Director of SCSU Communications Adam Hammer wrote in an email to the University Chronicle that depending on the severity of the Coronavirus, SCSU will be implementing plans accordingly.

“We have planned for accommodations for teaching and learning to continue at St. Cloud State University should the spread of COVID-19 [Coronavirus] continue to worsen and impact our community,” wrote Hammer. “This would include offering course work online.”

Hammer continues to state that the university is working with the appropriate organizations in order to determine the actions that need to be taken.

“We [SCSU] are working closely in collaboration with local health officials and with guidance from Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, in addition to the Minnesota State colleges and universities system office,” wrote Hammer.

 

SCSU’s Recommendations for Health and Safety

In accordance to the exponential spread of the virus, Wacker provided information to help students stay safe during this time.

“The two key messages here are stay home when sick and call ahead for guidance on where to get appropriate care. This applies to students, as well as faculty and staff,” wrote Wacker.

For students who are on campus, the SCSU Medical Clinic has now moved to a phone service only system. Students who are sick are told to call their offices at 320-308-3199 instead of walking directly into the clinic.

Faculty, staff, and all students also have resources such as a 24/7 services with CentraCare to communicate any symptoms or signs of illness. CentraCare can be contacted at 320-200-3200.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to be flexible with students who may be absent from class or work, in the case that they are ill.

“…it is important that both sick persons, or those with possible exposure to stay home,” wrote Wacker. “We encourage flexible attendance and sick leave support for students and staff who need to stay home or are asked by public health officials to stay home for 14 days.”

 

Impact of the Coronavirus in MN Post-Secondary Institutions

Cases in the United States have reached up to 1,107 according to the New York Times, with Minnesota’s toll now reaching five people diagnosed (March 11, 5 p.m.).

As a result, Minnesota State as well as the University of Minnesota system has suspended all international traveling and has given strict warning in regards to state-to-state travel.

The U of M system has suspended all in person courses for all of its seven campuses which will be in effect until at least April 1, according to the Star Tribune.

 

The University Chronicle will provide updates to this story as it progresses.

 

Resources for students, faculty and staff:

SCSU Medical Clinic and Pharmacy:

Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Pharmacy Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed daily 12:30-1 p.m.)

Phone: (320) 308-3193

Address: 850 1st Ave. S, St. Cloud, MN 56301

 

CentraCare Clinic: St. Cloud: 

Phone: (320) 252-2422

Address: 1900 Centracare Cir, St. Cloud, MN 56303

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Bethanie Barrios

Bethanie is a junior at St. Cloud State and is a mathematics education major with minors in mass communications and special education. This year, she is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle, a director for in house productions at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and a math tutor. She enjoys writing, rock concerts, and serving her community and fellow students.

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