Coronavirus Information and Updates – March 3, 2020

April Thompson – Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students
March 3, 2020 at 3:32pm

I am writing to share information on the changing global and domestic situation concerning coronavirus (COVID-19). Allegheny College continues to closely monitor these activities, and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is taking action to address a potential future outbreak in the U.S. that could impact College operations, study away programs, and other educational, personal, and business travel for students, faculty, and staff.

The College has convened its incident response team and is planning for different scenarios in the event it becomes necessary to implement emergency operations. We are in communication with local and state health officials and have been notified that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Crawford County and the state of Pennsylvania. The CDC also reports that immediate risk to the U.S. public is low; regardless, we understand there are many concerns about coronavirus.

We would like to remind the campus community that the best protection from the spread of any virus, including the flu and COVID-19, is through everyday preventive actions, including the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or 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 throw the tissue in the trash. Cough into your elbow if you do not have a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. This includes your cell phone.

Signs and symptoms of coronavirus and influenza are very similar. If you are running a high fever and have a mild-to-severe respiratory illness, with a cough, sore throat, and/or difficulty breathing, please call Winslow Health Center at (814) 332-4355 to set up an appointment to be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner as soon as possible. We are in close communication with the Meadville Medical Center, who is able to support us if any cases are identified.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website.

Allegheny College’s spring break is from March 14 to 22. We strongly advise students, faculty, and staff who may be traveling during the break to pay careful attention to travel advisories. It is important for you to be informed of potential health risks, travel restrictions, and health requirements during your trip and particularly upon your return.

Travel Health Advisories associated with the coronavirus outbreak:

CDC Warning Level 3:
Any country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Advisory is considered an “elevated risk,” and travelers are strongly instructed to avoid non-essential travel.

  • China
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea

CDC Warning Level 2:
For countries with a CDC Level 2 Travel Health Advisory, it is strongly suggested that travelers “practice enhanced precautions.”

  • Japan

Because the global situation is rapidly changing, the College recommends caution when considering overseas travel, just as we do for travel within the U.S. Travel limitations, self-isolation requirements, and other restrictions have been implemented by different governments with little to no notice, and guidelines are changing quickly.

Students Currently Studying Abroad

The International Education Office is in close contact with Allegheny College students who are currently studying overseas for the spring semester. As Allegheny does not run its own study abroad programs, we collaborate closely with our partner institutions. We are following the lead of our partner institutions, who will provide opportunities for students to continue coursework remotely if necessary.

Students and faculty who are planning to participate in a spring 2020 EL course have been contacted directly with guidelines, and the College will closely monitor and use the CDC criteria for decisions about travel to those destinations. For students planning to study abroad in the fall 2020 semester, we will include communication in their acceptance letters (scheduled to go out this week) that mentions the coronavirus outbreak, that we will be monitoring conditions in relevant countries, and that we will be applying the CDC criteria to any of their programs.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

April Thompson
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students