UOG planning for the possibility of partially or fully closing because of coronavirus

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University of Guam (PNC file photo)

University of Guam President Dr. Thomas Krise has issued a memo to the university community advising that his administration is developing a contingency plan for work and classes should the university have to partially or fully close as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Faculty members should prepare to continue their classes by the most effective means possible,” states the memo issued Thursday.  “A committee of faculty leaders, administrators, and the Student Government Association is currently developing a plan to accommodate alternative modes of instruction.”

The memo also states that the University has suspended all official UOG funded travel. And the administration is advising UOG employees and students NOT to travel to locations which have reported an extensive number of COVID-19 cases, that is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

UOG has set up a page on its website at – www.uog.edu/covid-19 where the latest campus advisories and updates on COVID-19 can be found.

Students and staff are advised to stay up to date with reputable sources and share only official notices.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UOG or anywhere else on Guam.

The following provisions listed in the UOG release are only being considered and they have NOT been implemented at this time.

UNDER CONSIDERATION:   

-Provisions for telecommuting and classes for those in self-quarantine.

-Some employees who are in a 14-day self-quarantine may work from home with the approval from their supervisors and their administrator.

-The postponement or cancellation of major events and large public gatherings

TRAVEL ADVISORY AND GUIDELINES 

-In light of the concerns and spread of COVID-19, effective immediately, ALL OFFICIAL (UOG) TRAVEL WILL BE SUSPENDED.

-Exceptions may be made by the appropriate Vice President.

-UOG employees and students SHOULD NOT travel to locations at Alert Level 3 and are strongly advised against traveling to or transiting through locations at Alert Level 2. It is highly recommended that all individuals consider the same for personal travel.

-Should a travel authorization not be approved by UOG, employees and students still choosing to travel would be traveling on their own time, at their own costs, and at their own risks. Employees would be required to use personal leave.

-If you choose to travel, please be aware that there is a chance that you may not be able to leave the country you are visiting and may not be able to return to Guam right away. This would depend on any changes to this evolving situation including alert levels, exposure to COVID-19, and changes to travel routes.

-In such cases, you should prepare a contingency plan for your travel.

-Beginning March 13, 2020, ALL EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS returning to Guam from off-island travel after visiting or transiting through any country, state, or territory with reported COVID-19 cases should observe a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to the campus. Upon arriving on-island, you could also be subject to any screening procedures in place by the Government of Guam.

EVENT PLANNING

UOG officials and students planning events over the next three months should consider postponing or canceling events that would involve a large gathering of people or that would require off-island travel for attendees.

Organizers should consult with their administrators, deans, and or Vice Presidents to determine whether an event should continue.

All events should be scheduled on the official UOG Events Calendar through the UOG Events Office at events@triton.uog.edu or call 735-2600.

CAMPUS ADVISORIES AND CONSIDERATIONS: 

-UOG will take action at any hint of possible infection from the coronavirus

-Stay home when you are sick – DO NOT go to work or attend classes

-Anyone with symptoms such as a cold, fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath should notify their doctor or GMH and then self-quarantine at home to avoid infecting other people for at least 14 days after they recover.

-According to public reports, the vast majority of cases of the coronavirus exhibit mild or at least manageable symptoms, similar to a cold or bout of influenza, which do not require medical attention.

-Anyone who has come in contact with a person who is suspected to have or tests positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days to avoid infecting other people.

-Anyone with mild symptoms should self-isolate at home and limit interaction and exposure with other people. If possible, a person exhibiting symptoms should be given a room of their own.

-Family or friends living with a person exhibiting symptoms need to isolate the sick person and take care to avoid infection.

-The elderly and those with impaired immune systems need to be especially careful and others need to help protect them as much as possible.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS:

-As much as possible, practice “social distancing” by staying away from other people and avoiding crowds. When meeting with others, try to keep a distance of 8 to 10 feet between you.

-Because it is currently flu and respiratory disease season, the Center for Disease Control
recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. However, if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

-Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands.

-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

-Practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette – cover your mouth and nose or use the inside of your arm.

-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces. Wipe down surfaces at work or at home that could be contaminated with the virus–use bleach sprays, disinfectant wipes, or soap and water

-Avoid touching the “T-zone” of your mouth, nose and eyes unless you have not touched any possibly contaminated surface since last washing your hands

MAKE a PLAN:

-Build a communication plan: How you will receive emergency alerts, how you will communicate with your household.

-Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick. Plan where they would stay in the home to avoid infecting others, and what will be needed to care for them in your home.

-Consider specific needs in your household: Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

-Practice your plan with your household.

READ the release from UOG in FULL below:

March 12, 2020
To: UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY
From(COVID-19).

The University of Guam continues to closely monitor the global outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The situation is dynamic and rapidly changing, and notices are subject to change quickly. Thus, an over-abundance of caution is advised to safeguard yourselves, our University, and Guam and the region.

As you may be aware, the local news sources have reported a few cases of persons under investigation (PUI) here in Guam.

We are currently working on contingency plans for work and classes should the University have to partially or fully close. Our registered nurses at the Student Health Office and the School of Health have all received training from the Department of Public Health and Social Services should they be activated in case of an island-wide emergency.

The Government of Guam is carefully assessing the situation as it evolves. With any change in status, anticipate timely notification.: Thomas W. Krise, President

Re: CAMPUS ADVISORY – NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

The University of Guam continues to closely monitor the global outbreak of Novel Coronavirus

The following pages present general guidelines and procedures for the entire University Community concerning COVID-19 including: 

  • General Precautions
  • Campus Advisory and Considerations
  • Travel Advisory and Guidelines

We have set up a webpage at www.uog.edu/covid-19 where you will find this information along with the latest campus advisories and updates, the latest GovGuam announcements on COVID-19, and links to resources.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

Take Precautions Now: Prevent the Spread of All Respiratory Illnesses

 The UOG community has begun taking measures to protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic. To be effective, we all need to take personal responsibility for reducing the spread of the virus. It’s especially important for us all to protect the elderly, the very young, and those with chronic conditions or impaired immune systems. It is also important not to panic, stay calm, and remain vigilant and prudent in all our planning and actions.

Everyone at UOG and in our community can take steps now to prepare for this emerging public health threat by doing everyday preventative measures.

  • As much as possible, practice “social distancing” by staying away from other people and avoiding crowds. When meeting with others, try to keep a distance of 8 to 10 feet between you.
  • Because it is currently flu and respiratory disease season, the Center for Disease Controlrecommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. However, if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette – cover your mouth and nose or use the inside of your arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces. Wipe down surfaces at work or at home that could be contaminated with the virus–use bleach sprays, disinfectant wipes, or soap and water
  • Avoid touching the “T-zone” of your mouth, nose and eyes unless you have not touched any possibly contaminated surface since last washing your hands

Make a plan

o Build a communication plan: How you will receive emergency alerts, how you will communicate with your household.

o Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick. Plan where they would stay in the home to avoid infecting others, and what will be needed to care for them in your home.

o Consider specific needs in your household: Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

o Practice your plan with your household.

Stay Up to Date with Reputable Sources

It is important to note that the situation can change daily. The community is reminded to only share official notices and visit the following links for the most up-to-date information:

  • CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  • DPHSS website: http://dphss.guam.gov/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-n-cov/
  • GHS/OCD website: https://ghs.guam.gov/coronavirus
  • Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center: https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/programand-policy-support/Pages/Novel-Coronavirus.aspx

CAMPUS ADVISORY AND CONSIDERATIONS

The University Community must take action at any hint of possible infection with COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick – DO NOT go to work or attend classes.

Anyone with symptoms such as a cold, fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath should notify their doctors or GMH and then self-quarantine at home to avoid infecting other people for at least 14 days after they recover.

o According to public reports, the vast majority of cases of the coronavirus exhibit mild or at least manageable symptoms, similar to a cold or bout of influenza, which do not require medical attention.

o Anyone who has come in contact with a person who is suspected to have or tests positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days to avoid infecting other people.

o Anyone with mild symptoms should self-isolate at home and limit interaction and exposure with other people. If possible, a person exhibiting symptoms should be given a room of their own.

o Family or friends living with a person exhibiting symptoms need to isolate the sick person and take care to avoid infection.

o The elderly and those with impaired immune systems (diabetics, those on dialysis, those with COPD or other breathing difficulties, those who are HIV positive or undergoing cancer treatments, etc.) need to be especially careful and others need to help protect them as much as possible .

  • Provisions for telecommuting and classes for those in self-quarantine

Some employees who are in a 14-day self-quarantine may work from home with the approval from their supervisors and their administrator. Students in a 14-day self-quarantine may participate in classes with accommodations from their faculty. NOTE: Additional information on alternatives for classes including online accommodations will be provided at a later date.

  • Postpone or cancel major events and large public gatherings

UOG officials and students planning events over the next three months should consider postponing or canceling events that would involve a large gathering of people or that would require off-island travel for attendees. Organizers should consult with their administrators, deans, and or Vice Presidents to determine whether an event should continue.

ALL EVENTS should be scheduled on the official UOG Events Calendar through the UOG Events Office at events@triton.uog.edu or call 735-2600.

  • Classes and Labs

Faculty members should prepare to continue their classes by the most effective means possible. A committee of faculty leaders, administrators, and the Student Government Association is currently developing a plan to accommodate alternate modes of instruction. More information will be available soon.

TRAVEL ADVISORY AND GUIDELINES

In light of the concerns and spread of COVID-19, effective immediately, ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL WILL BE SUSPENDED. Exceptions may be made by the appropriate Vice President.

UOG employees and students SHOULD NOT travel to locations at Alert Level 3 and are strongly advised against traveling to or transiting through locations at Alert Level 2. It is highly recommended that all individuals consider the same for personal travel.

Should a travel authorization not be approved by UOG, employees and students still choosing to travel would be travelling on their own time, at their own costs, and at their own risks. Employees would be required to use personal leave.

If you choose to travel, please be aware that there is a chance that you may not be able to leave the country you are visiting and may not be able to return to Guam right away. This would depend on any changes to this evolving situation including alert levels, exposure to COVID-19, and changes to travel routes. In such cases, you should prepare a contingency plan for your travel.

Beginning March 13, 2020, ALL EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS returning to Guam from off-island travel after visiting or transiting through any country, state, or territory with reported COVID-19 cases should observe a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to the campus. Upon arriving on-island, you could also be subject to any screening procedures in place by the Government of Guam.

The University advises checking the latest travel recommendations and risk assessment levels for certain countries at the following websites:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel
  • U.S. Department of State: International Travel