Dear University of St. Francis Students, Faculty, and Staff,
The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to be a focus of attention and concern. The health and safety of our entire USF university community remains our highest priority.
We are engaged and monitoring the situation and meeting in real-time to review local, regional, and national health agency reports and preparedness plans. We are also in communication with local officials on preparedness and response plans. Out of an abundance of caution, we have modified USF’s operations in order to fulfill our educational mission as a student-focused institution, while keeping our campus community safe and healthy and, hopefully, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
This is a very fluid situation, and we will continue to meet regularly and provide updates. While there are currently no reported or suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in Joliet, in Albuquerque, or on any campus of the University of St. Francis, we are taking the following precautions to safeguard the health of all members of the USF community and our educational partners effective Monday, March 16:
UNIVERSITY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
USF continues to ask everyone in the university community to follow the CDC recommendations for preventive actions:
The health, safety, and well-being of our university and communities remains our highest priority.
I understand these circumstances present challenges for many who learn, teach, and work at USF. Let us come together as a resilient and determined community to rise above these challenges as we engage in respectful dialogue across our differences and in the common pursuit of truth. We will continue to serve the needs of our students and fulfill our mission. Thank you for your patience and adaptability during this time.
As the situation evolves, we will continue to monitor updates from local, state, and federal agencies. If we change parts of these plans, I will keep you updated and informed.
Peace and all good things,
Arvid C. Johnson
University of St. Francis
Dear USF community,
The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are among our highest priorities at the University of St. Francis. Please take a moment to review the following information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has understandably caused concern internationally, domestically and even locally.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a COVID-19 reference page that provides guidance for Illinois universities and colleges. Provided below are some excerpts from the document. You may also access the complete document for additional information by clicking here or by visiting http://dph.illinois.gov.
1) Currently, the health risk to the general public from COVID-19 remains low, both in the U.S. and specifically in Illinois. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to detect new cases quickly and prevent community spread of COVID-19. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, but strong public health measures now may blunt the impact of the virus. For current Illinois statistics regarding COVID-19, please click here.
2) Any student or school personnel returning from a Level 3 country (which includes China, Italy, South Korea, Iran as of 3/2/2020) should not attend school or work for 14 days after the return date. Absences for this purpose should be excused and alternate arrangements should be made for teleworking and online school assignments. Individuals who returned from mainland China in the previous 14 days and develop respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away. University health services should immediately notify their Local Health Department.
3) At this time, there is no need to cancel school or social events. However, as with any respiratory virus, students and school personnel should stay home and avoid events when they are ill, and are not to return to class/work until they are fever-free without medication for 24 hours. In the event that the university is advised by authorities to proceed in a different manner, USF will communicate the specified instructions to students and employees via the RAVE messaging system (phone, email and text).
4) There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. As with any respiratory virus, students and school personnel can protect themselves and others by taking common sense actions, including:
5) At this time, no special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning are necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Schools should follow standard processes for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA- registered product. Please note that USF already follows this practice.
6) The Illinois Department of Public Health does not currently recommend the use of masks or gloves, the canceling of mass gatherings, nor the canceling of classes. Again, in the event that the university is advised by authorities to proceed in a different manner, USF will communicate the specified instructions to students and employees via the RAVE messaging system (phone, email and text).
7) The Diocese of Joliet has also implemented the following precautions during the celebration of Mass in light of concerns related with the potential spreading of COVID-19:
In addition to the linked information from the Illinois Department of Public Health referenced at the beginning of this correspondence, listed below are links to additional resources that offer information on the coronavirus outbreak:
We want to reiterate that the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are among our highest priorities at the University of St. Francis. If you have any concerns regarding COVID-19, please call the USF Health and Wellness Center at 815-740-3864 or visit the Health and Wellness Center at Tower Hall S213. You are also encouraged to call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-889-3931 or email [email protected] to have any COVID-19 questions answered.
Director of Community and Government Relations
University of St. Francis