Pre-Spring Break Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Mar 04, 2020

The following update is being made to the Morningside campus community with information updated as of Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines. With our decision to recall the Semester in Italy program last weekend, we know it is also a hot topic on campus.

Morningside is basing decisions and planning related to coronavirus on guidance and expertise coming from four organizations. We encourage you to use these resources as well when seeking information and resources related to coronavirus:

Below is the latest information we have regarding both the Semester in Italy students, as well as general information we have been receiving through our work with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Siouxland District Health. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY – ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE TRAVELING FOR SPRING BREAK.

 
General Prevention

At this time, prevention is the best defense against coronavirus. Follow these practices to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • 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 mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

Semester In Italy

The 12 students that were taking part in the Semester In Italy program were recalled to the United States on Saturday. Due to the fact many of them were traveling throughout Europe and beyond for spring break, their return dates will be staggered. Morningside is covering the cost of their return, and students will be completing the remainder of their coursework online from their place of permanent residence.

We do have students who have already arrived back in the United States and are at their permanent residence. Others are scheduled to begin their return as late as Friday, March 13. Presently, no Semester in Italy students have tested positive for coronavirus or are displaying symptoms.

Yesterday, these students were notified that the Iowa Department of Public Health has recommended that they self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to their permanent residence. Morningside has urged the students to comply with IDPH's recommendation for their own health and safety and that of others, and we have also asked them to remain off-campus and not attend Morningside events or activities in accordance with the IDPH recommendation.

 

On-Campus

There continues to be no increased risk to our campus or the Siouxland area, and there are no known cases in the area at this time.

Morningside has been in regular contact with both Siouxland District Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health. We will continue to follow their guidelines and recommendations. Should a case arise, we would also work with those offices and follow their directive.

 At this time, we intend to hold all scheduled classes, events, and activities, and we will continue to do so unless otherwise prescribed by Siouxland District Health, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the CDC, or the U.S. Department of State. This includes upcoming conferences, concerts, and commencement.

 

 Spring Break

We know that many students will be traveling for spring break. We want to reinforce that this situation is dynamic and changing every day – even every hour.

If you plan to travel during spring break, please make sure you stay informed about the conditions at your intended destination and back in Iowa and the United States.

You are encouraged to see the information available via the Iowa Department of Public Health to educate and protect yourself ahead of any travel you may partake in.

At this time (Wednesday, March 4, 2020), there are no movement or travel restrictions within the United States.

Movement and travel restrictions to countries outside the United States vary. See the U.S. Department of State website for the most updated information.

Because the situation is fluid, there is a possibility that any country you visit may decide to implement new or different restrictions while you are outside the U.S. Additionally, there may be flight cancellations and additional self-isolation, quarantine measures, or restricted re-entry on your return to the United States. International students planning to travel out of the country for spring break and return to the United States after should take extra care to understand potential entry restrictions upon their return. 

If you are a student who will be traveling internationally during spring break, we are asking you to fill out the form found in your email.  Any faculty or staff traveling internationally should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let him know where you will be going and your travel dates. This information is being gathered to help protect the campus community in the event of a case of coronavirus on campus or in the area.

 

May Term/Other College-Sponsored Travel

 Morningside plans to continue with all college-sponsored travel within the United States as of Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

All college-sponsored international travel will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Presently, there is only one international trip scheduled (to Cuba) in the next month. It remains on the schedule.

It will be our goal to determine if May Term trips that will be traveling (particularly internationally) will go on as scheduled within the next 2-3 weeks. Here again, we will use recommendations from the U.S. Department of State and public health officials.

To give you some insight as to whether or not your trip may be canceled, any trip to a country with a Travel Alert 3 or higher at the time of our decision will be automatically canceled. Trips to countries with a lesser travel alert will be given individual consideration but may be canceled even if the country is not at a Travel Alert 3 or higher. It is possible that trips within the United States may be canceled at the discretion of the instructor or administration.

If you are a faculty or staff member participating in college-sponsored travel for professional purposes and wish to alter or cancel any planned travel, please contact your supervisor to discuss alternatives or cancelation. Your health, safety, and comfort are paramount.

 

Student, Faculty, or Staff Illness or Self-Quarantine

Should you become ill, you are encouraged to stay home to prevent the spread of illness. Students should let faculty know if you will be out of class ill. Faculty and staff should make your supervisor or Human Resources aware if you will not be working due to illness.

If you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus and/or have been in contact with an individual who has recently traveled from an impacted country, or if you have recently returned from an impacted country, you should CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE GOING TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM OR CLINIC. They will give you further guidance for your protection, as well as the health and safety of others. 

If you should test positive for COVID-19 or if you are advised to self-quarantine or self-isolate, you are encouraged to notify officials at Morningside immediately. Students should email Karmen Ten Napel and faculty and staff should contact Cindy Welp. They will work with you to make any necessary accommodations and alert campus officials.