Dear Truman Community Members,
As you know the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation. To date, no cases have been reported in Missouri. Currently, our general student population is not among the population known to be at high risk for severe complications with COVID-19. (The high-risk groups noted today include the elderly and those who are medically compromised.)
However, I’m writing today to call your attention to the widening outbreak, its growing potential to disrupt international travel during Truman’s Spring Break and the foreseeable future, and to advise of infection-control measures that you can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like influenza and the coronavirus.
In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of State and the CDC have raised travel advisory levels and issued various alerts for several countries, including China, South Korea, Italy, Venezuela, Japan and Iran.
If you are considering international travel this spring, Truman Student Health Services and international travel officials are encouraging you to monitor travel advisories due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Depending on your destination, you may have to reach difficult decisions to change or even cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to Truman.
In many countries and on cruise ships, there may be new entry and exit control measures, and even quarantines implemented with very little notice during the coming weeks. These actions could significantly impact your plans and/or delay your return home with personal cost.
Because this situation is likely to continue to rapidly change in the weeks ahead, we highly encourage you to check both the U.S. Department of State (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/) and the Centers for Disease Control (https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) websites to find updated guidance for your destination as well as for those countries you may plan to transit.
Recommended Preventive/Infection Control Measures:
Everyday measures are most significant in preventing any respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and include:
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Staying home when you are sick
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throwing the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, cough into your elbow rather than your hands.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces (think doorknobs and countertops) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread to others. Some medical offices request that anyone coughing wear a facemask while in the waiting room to prevent the spread of illness to other potentially high-risk individuals. This only means that they are coughing, not that they are diagnosed with any illness.
One of the challenges associated with the coronavirus situation is that things can change rapidly. The recommendations provided currently may change if the virus spreads and as new information is gained. Truman has had a Pandemic Plan in place for many years and this document will help guide decisions related to the Coronavirus and how the University will respond. In addition, one of the annual Crisis Management tabletop training exercises in recent years was centered on responding to a pandemic situation. We have also been in communication with other campuses about their planned responses. Later this week, members of the University community will be meeting with city and county representatives from public health and other agencies to coordinate as necessary.
General information about COVID-19 Coronavirus can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.
Updated campus information on coronavirus is available at: https://studenthealth.truman.edu.
We encourage you to reach out to the following resources for assistance if you have any questions:
- Truman Student Health Center (660-785-4182)
- Center for International Education Abroad Office (660-785-4076)
- Center for International Students (660-785-4215)
- University Counseling Services (660-785-4014)
Please know that Truman administration and the Student Health Center are monitoring coronavirus developments both at home and abroad and will keep you up to date as we coordinate efforts with local public health officials and monitor CDC advisories.