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March 2: Update on monitoring of the coronavirus

March 2, 2020

Campus Community, 

I wanted to provide an update on Augustana’s continual monitoring of the coronavirus. Information about guiding principles, the formation of a working group, and our infectious disease policy are included in this communication. 

1. We will rely on and follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State (for travel), and the Rock Island Public Health Department. We will resist following the advice of those who are not experts and advice that does not align with the recommendations of the sources previously noted.

2. Our actions will be guided by available science and information, and not by fear.

3. The safety of students, employees and visitors is our highest priority.

4. We will make the financial investments that are required to appropriately respond to any pandemic; we will make other investments needed to protect the safety of our community.

5. We will communicate promptly and as fully as possible.

6. We will promote an understanding of how the coronavirus is spread and how best to limit the transmission of the virus.  

7. We will convene a task force chaired by Dr. Wes Brooks, dean of the college, and Sheri Curran, general counsel. This task force will meet weekly (or as needed) to recommend steps to be taken in accordance with these guiding principles, and will help to keep the Augustana community updated.  

Augustana College Infectious Disease and Pandemic Response Plan

The Dean of Students Office has adopted the Augustana College Infectious Disease and Pandemic Response plan as the guiding document in addressing any concerns that may arise with the coronavirus. This plan is a living document that will undergo continual review and amendments as deemed necessary. 

As stated in the plan, Augustana will take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of college community members during global and local infectious disease and pandemic events. Because it is impossible to predict the full effects of a new threat, instead of a detailed action plan, Augustana’s plan provides a general framework and recommended actions to be considered in the event of an infectious disease outbreak or pandemic. Institutional division areas and individual departments are responsible for the development of more detailed plans within their respective areas. 

The plan is largely informed by the following sources: the World Health Organization website, the CDC’s Colleges and Universities Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist, ACHA’s Guidelines for Pandemic Planning, and the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Pandemic Flu Plan. 

Coronavirus information

The college has added a web page to the Augustana website that captures information regarding the coronavirus. This page should serve as an ongoing resource to the campus community. 

Sincerely,

Wes

Wes H. Brooks, Ph.D.
Vice President and Dean of Students