Earlier this week, we sent out a notice regarding UND’s response to the COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus). At that time, we also established the Coronavirus Updates blog as the central resource on this topic for our community. The University continues to monitor the situation and the advisories of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) closely.
There is significant media attention and public concern regarding the virus. While there are no diagnosed cases in North Dakota, the virus may make its way to our State at some point in the future. The wellbeing of our campus community is of the utmost importance.
UND has a pandemic emergency response plan, and University leaders are meeting regularly to ensure our campus is prepared. We also are working closely with local, state and national agencies, and following CDC recommendations.
I have appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tom DiLorenzo as the University’s point person to monitor and lead discussions regarding UND’s response to this situation. Provost DiLorenzo is working closely with Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Eric Plummer, who is also our emergency management incident commander.
This is a fluid situation, and I want to provide you with the latest information regarding study abroad, University travel and campus events:
Study Abroad: The safety of our students is a priority. We have been in contact with every student who is currently studying overseas to discuss concerns they have, options should they wish to return to the United States and assistance to mitigate issues that may arise due to their return.
We are also following CDC recommendations and have suspended programs in identified Level 3 impacted countries, including China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. We currently have 39 students studying abroad, none of whom are located in these identified high-risk areas.
As with study abroad, the University is following CDC recommendations regarding travel, and we are suspending all University-related faculty, staff and student travel to identified Level 3 countries. The situation is evolving rapidly and could change at any moment. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Campus Activities: With no known presence of the virus in North Dakota, UND is not modifying any campus activities at this time. All classes and activities will continue as normal unless and until the situation changes. We also are working to ensure our buildings and facilities are appropriately prepared and supplied, and reviewing daily custodial operations.
We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.
The CDC and State and local health officials recommend that people follow basic prevention guidelines, including:
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The safety of our community is of utmost importance. The situation is fluid, and I encourage you to monitor the University’s announcements closely. We will send updates as the situation evolves.
Dr. Joshua Wynne