Morningside Campus Update: Coronavirus

Feb 27, 2020

Morningside is monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus both in the United States and abroad. There is no higher priority than the health, safety, and well-being of our community. As such, we will continue to monitor and evaluate the spread of coronavirus closely and provide regular communication to the campus community.

Below is information regarding steps we are taking to protect the well-being of our Morningside students, faculty, and staff.

 

On-Campus

Here at home, there is no increased risk to the community of Sioux City and our surrounding areas.  

With spring break coming and many students planning to travel, we will provide information on prevention measures to help limit the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses. We are also relying upon and have confidence in public health officials at airports and other ports of entry to screen travelers arriving from at-risk areas.

Should a member of our Morningside community be advised to self-quarantine, you should call or email officials at Morningside.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, you are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately. Should you have questions about policies related to illnesses, you can find the employee handbook here and student handbook here.

 

Morningside Abroad

Presently, Morningside has 12 students and two faculty on the island of Sicily in Italy for Morningside’s Semester in Italy program. There are also two students in the Netherlands and one in Spain studying abroad through partner programs.

We have been communicating at length with our partners abroad, as well as the impacted faculty and students.

The students in the Netherlands and Spain are at no increased risk at this time.

The students and faculty in Italy are aware of the increased number of cases of coronavirus, particularly in the northern part of the country. The two faculty who are with those students, Heather Reid and Patrick McKinlay, both have extensive experience abroad, and Reid has lived and traveled in Italy for more than 30 years. They, too, are closely monitoring the situation and providing regular updates to the students with them, as well as Morningside officials.

Based on this information, we intend to continue all active study abroad programs as planned as of Thursday, February 27, 2020. We will continue to closely watch the situation and reassess as needed. Should there be any changes, we will immediately communicate with the campus community.

Understanding the concerns some students and families may have in regard to the increased outbreak, students currently participating in the Semester in Italy program will have the option to return to the United States at their own expense and complete the remainder of their coursework online.

Morningside does understand that the news about coronavirus may cause concern or even alarm. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community. We will remain vigilant in monitoring the situation and conveying information.

Again, for now, there is no increased or imminent risk to our local campus, and no current plans to suspend any upcoming domestic or international Morningside-sponsored travel. It's worth noting that there are no college-sponsored travel plans to China scheduled at this time.

 

Morningside Abroad Update: March 2, 2020

On Saturday, Feb. 29, the U.S. Department of State made the decision to raise Italy to an Alert 3, prompting Morningside to issue a recall on its Semester at Italy program in an abundance of caution. Given that the 12 students in the program had just begun spring break and many were already traveling in other parts of Europe, Morningside is working with students individually on their return to the United States. Students have the option to return immediately, or they can choose to complete their spring break travel and make arrangements to begin their return on or before March 13. As of today, March 2, all flights have been rebooked and Morningside is covering the cost. Students will begin arriving back in the United States as early as today. Others will begin making their return trip as late as March 13. Given that the students had been scheduled to be in Italy for the semester, they will be returning to their place of permanent residence and will complete their coursework online from home.

Students are aware they will be screened both departing Italy and arriving in the United States. Morningside has been communicating with both Siouxland District Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health to ensure guidelines and recommendations are being followed. At this time, there are no movement restrictions on travelers returning from Italy. Should that change, Morningside will work with students to ensure all guidelines and recommendations are followed. 

The two students in the Netherlands and the student in Spain remain at no increased risk at this time. We will continue to check in regularly with our study abroad partners in those countries to monitor any potential changes. 

 

Non-College Sponsored Travel

Students or other members of our community who plan to travel domestically or internationally for non-college sponsored purposes are encouraged to follow the travel guidelines as outlined by the CDC and the U.S. Department of State. Prevention is currently the best measure against coronavirus.

 

Support for Students Impacted by the Coronavirus Outbreak

We wish to extend our support to any members of the Morningside community who have family, friends, and colleagues who may have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Anyone requiring additional assistance or resources is encouraged to reach out to Morningside faculty and staff. You may also wish to use Counseling Services.

 

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