Monday, March 9, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The College’s administrative leadership team has been monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.  The health, safety, and well-being of our community remains our top priority.  We have two groups of staff and faculty working together to address this unique situation. We are in contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and are following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

I want to assure you that contingency planning is well underway. Based on developments across the country and internationally, we are implementing new policies regarding travel and campus events, all designed to protect our community as a whole. All decisions are subject to change as the situation develops, so we will update the community regularly to keep you informed. 

All communications and resources related to the coronavirus are available on our website at http://springfield.edu/coronavirus. This remains the best place to locate Springfield College-related information and resources regarding the coronavirus. Additionally, for the latest general updates on the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

Travel Information

Faculty and staff are asked to suspend the booking of any domestic or international travel utilizing public transportation (e.g., airlines, buses, trains) until further notice, except for essential College-related travel as determined by the President. If you are unsure whether your travel falls into the essential category, please email your question to studentaffairs@springfield.edu.

Further, all faculty and staff must register any authorized college-related travel occurring now through commencement (domestic and international). Please note that faculty and staff are restricted from college-related travel to Level III countries. Please monitor the CDC travel website for up-to-date information on the status of countries.

We are requesting that faculty, staff, and students register spring break and other personal travel planned for the rest of the semester. Such a registration process allows us to create a record of where people have been and will help inform public health outbreak tracking efforts should an infection occur on our campus. Please register your travel here: https://forms.gle/NT7r9MQitVdfaMWo7. We strongly encourage campus community members to cancel personal trips to Level II or Level III countries.

Events and visitors

We are asking that College sponsors check in with all invited and scheduled visitors and guests to confirm they have not been to a Level III country or been in contact with infected persons within 14 days of visiting our campus.

Physical space

We are in the process of providing enhanced hygiene and cleaning supplies in each classroom and common areas so that students, staff, and faculty can effectively cover coughs and sneezes and wipe down surfaces before each use. When possible, disinfecting wipes will also be available for wiping down technology that cannot be sprayed.

Students who are confirmed cases, where possible, will be sent home to observe a 14-day isolation period. We will provide single rooms for students who may have been exposed to the virus and must self-quarantine on campus (if travel to home is prohibited).         

Class absences and sick leave

All Springfield College community members should practice CDC recommended hygiene and self-care practices.  Students, faculty, and staff should not come to campus or attend class when they are sick (especially if they are coughing, sneezing, or have a fever), or if they are caring for someone who is sick. Faculty should not penalize students for missing class due to illness. Students will coordinate with their instructors to keep current with coursework and assignments, and instructors should extend due dates as necessary for students who are ill.

Students who are not attending class due to illness will inform the Student Affairs Office (studentaffairs@springfield.edu) of their symptoms and will be encouraged to self-quarantine  at home, or may request a reassigned room if they are unable to return home for the duration of their illness. Students, staff, and faculty who are present in class or at work will be presumed healthy.

Academics

The Provost’s Office will communicate with faculty about the Academic Affairs Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Plan. This plan primarily addresses contingencies for the suspension of on campus operations for periods of up to two weeks, with some strategies for addressing longer evacuation periods.  If needed, faculty will be provided with additional information and technical support.

I appreciate the work of the faculty and staff who have assisted with our on-going response to the many issues which are associated with this complex and evolving situation. Please continue to monitor the website at www.springfield.edu/coronavirus for updates as they occur.

Additionally, I will be holding a forum on Wednesday night, March 11, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. in Dodge A-F for those community members who would like to attend.

Best,

Mary-Beth Cooper

President