DATE: February 28, 2020
TO: Students, Faculty, and Staff
FROM: Dr. Richard Nelson, President
COVID19 UPDATE #1: Information on COVID19 (Coronavirus)
Fellow Members of the Nicolet College Community,
As you know, responsible news outlets everywhere are reporting extensively on the spread of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV or “COVID 19”) from its origin in Wuhan China to other countries around the world. Most cases are still in China, but the number of cases in other parts of the world is growing quickly. About 60 countries have reported at least one case, with the highest counts in South Korea, Iran and Italy. In North America, people in several US states and Canadian provinces have tested positive. Most infectious disease experts say the geographic spread will continue, at least until the winter/spring flu season starts to wind down.
What does all this mean for us? No one can say for sure, but I want to share with you some of what we are doing to keep lines of communication open and to assure preparedness:
- We are actively monitoring reports from authorities and all levels of government and will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead. Though risks remain very low now, we are preparing for the possibility that the outbreak could impact our ability to operate all or parts of the College normally for an extended period of time.
- Good information enables good decision-making, especially under rapidly changing conditions as we are seeing with COVID 19. With that in mind, the Executive Leadership Team is committed to sharing timely and accurate information that is pertinent to the Nicolet College community.
At present, one person in Wisconsin has tested positive for the virus. That person, reported to be in the Madison area, is in isolation and doing well. There are no known cases in or around the Nicolet College district. Along with our partners at the Oneida County Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, we will be diligent in our work to protect the health and wellbeing of all Nicolet College community members.
Although COVID 19 is new (WHO received the first reports from China on 12/31/19), coronaviruses are not. The very best way to reduce your risk of infection is to follow the proven advice of infectious disease experts:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or, if not available, an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- When you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Do not share food, drinks, or tableware.
As noted above, good information and good decision-making go hand-in-hand. Here are a few reliable sources of information:
Global: World Health Organization (WHO) information about Coronavirus
National: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Situation Summary
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Higher Education: American College Health Association
Also, for a good summary of the CDC’s recent assessment of the potential for disruption of our daily lives and routines, take a look at this WPR story.
Finally, because knowledge conquers fear, I thank you for being informed by credible sources like those mentioned above. Further information will be shared with the College community as it becomes available, and in the meantime you are invited to contact any member of the Nicolet College Executive Leadership Team (see below) with any questions or concerns.
Richard Nelson, President