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3/5: COVID-19 Update on Campus Preparedness

The following message was emailed to the campus community on March 5, 2020.

Dear Santa Clara University community,

Yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California to allow more access to state and local resources, personnel, and funding to aid in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Santa Clara University continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 as more cases are confirmed in California, the U.S., and other countries. While there are no known cases (confirmed or suspected) of this virus on the SCU campus, we continue to plan for a range of scenarios as well as short-and longer-term impacts.   

Santa Clara County update: We continue to closely monitor the latest guidance and information from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD). As of today, there were 14 known cases in our county, which is comprised of 18 cities and towns spanning 1300 square miles. Of the 14, two have been classified as ‘community transmission.’ Find more details on the SCCPHD website.

With our focus on the well-being and safety of our campus community, we offer here some critical information in this sixth update to our community:  

Dedicated phone hotline and email: In addition to sending regular email updates to the community, we established an email address for anyone with specific questions or inquiries. A dedicated phone hotline will be staffed 24/7 until further notice. Contact: 408-551-3321.

Overall SCU preparedness update: SCU’s preparation and planning have been closely following the CDC’s guidance to higher ed institutions. As mentioned in last week’s update, our Emergency Operations Center and Infectious Disease Task Force teams are meeting frequently to continue to plan for potential impacts to campus operations. 

Classes and University Operations:

  • In keeping with the most recent guidance from the CDC, for institutions of higher education with no identified cases on campus, classes are continuing without interruption. This action is consistent with the current practice at our peer universities.
  • The Office of the Provost and Academic Technology are working with our faculty to ensure instructional continuity in the event of an escalation in conditions requiring a disruption in classes. More information will be forthcoming in an update from the Provost. 

Heightened cleaning protocols on campus: To reduce the likelihood of any transmission and to ensure that high traffic contact surfaces are regularly cleaned, University Operations has implemented our antiviral deep cleaning procedures. These are procedures that effectively target areas of high touch/high probability for contaminants for special focus and extra cleaning. You will see hand sanitizing stations deployed around campus in all academic, housing, and administration buildings. The stations are refilled daily so please use them frequently!

If you are sick: Students, faculty, and staff should not attend classes or work if you are sick with any illness. SCU Human Resources encourages any employee, including student employees, feeling sick with flu-like symptoms to err on the side of caution and stay home from work until you feel better. If you do become ill, do not attend work or other activities until you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.  Please limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Employees should notify their supervisor when they are ill.  

What you can do: Stay informed and regularly check your email and Cowell website for the latest, most updated information. And remember, it is still flu season! Practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of all viruses. 

  • 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 cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Most people who develop the flu can recover with little or no medical intervention. Be sure to have supplies on hand to help you manage your symptoms. You may want to make sure you have a thermometer, tissues, sports drinks to keep hydrated, soup/crackers/comfort foods, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes.

Inclusion and RespectSanta Clara University is committed to fostering a community that values diversity and models inclusion, respect, and kindness. To that end, it is critical that we equip ourselves with facts and each take on the responsibility of dismantling the myths and stigmas that can result in ignorance and discrimination. We must stay committed to our Jesuit values of inclusion, respect, and care for the whole person. Important facts to know:

We appreciate everyone’s help in Santa Clara’s efforts to keep our campus healthy and to keep you informed of significant new developments in the ever-changing situation. 

Jeanne Rosenberger
Vice Provost for Student Life 

John Ottoboni
Chief Operating Officer