March 12, 2020— Missouri Western State University has extended its Spring Break for students to Monday, March 23. President Matt Wilson sent the following message to campus:
Dear Campus Community:
We have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and will be extending Spring Break until March 23 to help mitigate its spread. We will use this time to explore alternate methods of delivery for classes. We will make a determination by next Wednesday, March 18 regarding plans for the remainder of the semester.
We have a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of our campus community, and we take this commitment very seriously. We would like to emphasize that Missouri Western has not had any cases of COVID-19 on campus, and the decision to extend Spring Break was made as a precaution and in an effort to support nationwide efforts to help prevent its spread.
Students should remain at their permanent address and not return to campus next week for classes or to move back into the residence halls. Students who have extenuating circumstances regarding their on-campus housing should contact Student Affairs. Student employees should contact their supervisors for further information.
University offices will remain open and employees should continue to report to work. Faculty members teaching face-to-face classes should start planning how to continue instruction through alternate methods in the event that the university decides to move away from in-person class delivery. Methods should include the use of Canvas, Panopto, Zoom, email or other means of communication. Academic leadership will be communicating with faculty to discuss available options. The IT department has created a resource page with information on various technology solutions available.
Your Missouri Western email will be our primary method of communication as this situation develops. Students should check their emails for messages from faculty about adjusted assignments. Faculty members will contact students with more information.
On-campus events scheduled for next week have been cancelled, and we encourage employees to conduct meetings with off-campus individuals by phone or video conferencing. Continue watching your email for more information about your specific situation.
Students, Faculty and Staff with underlying health conditions
Unless notified otherwise, employees should continue to report to work as usual. At the same time, we recognize that some members of our campus community may be at a higher risk of infection. Individuals having underlying health conditions that place them at heightened risk should contact the following:
- Students – contact the Disrupted Attendance Resource Team
- Faculty – please work with your dean or department chair
- Staff – please work with your immediate supervisor
Beginning immediately, all University-related international travel (whether previously approved or not) is hereby restricted until further notice. Domestic travel is strongly discouraged.
Did You Travel During Spring Break?
As you return from spring break, if you have traveled to a high-risk area, please read the University’s travel notice. As recommended by the City of St. Joseph Health Department and other medical authorities, the University will not allow students or employees who have traveled to areas flagged by the CDC or State Department onto campus and into classes unless they have stayed home for 14 days and show no sign of infection. Out of an abundance of caution, it is imperative that we take measures to preserve the health and safety of our campus community.
If you are returning from a high-risk area, the CDC guidelines recommend:
- Staying home for 14 days and avoiding contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period.
- Separating yourself from other people and animals in your home. Do not allow visitors. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
- Taking your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitoring for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Not taking public transportation, taxis or ride-shares during this time.
Students who have questions or need assistance should contact Student Affairs and the Disrupted Attendance Response Team. Any employee who may be affected should contact their supervisor or HR as early as possible to discuss their particular situation.
Advice for Everyone — How to Guard Against Coronavirus
For general information, the Centers for Disease Control have issued some recommended precautions for everyone that we wanted to share with the campus community:
- Avoid contact with people who are ill.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating; after using the restroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Missouri Western has placed additional hand sanitizer stations in various locations on campus.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you need to see a medical professional, please call your doctor’s office or hospital emergency room before visiting the healthcare facility.
- Also, The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has established a 24-hour hotline for any questions related to the coronavirus. You may call (877) 435-8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Symptoms of the disease may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Person-to-person spread is occurring, though it is currently unclear exactly how and how easily it is transmitted.
If you have any questions, please contact the 24-hour hotline at (877) 435-8411 or Missouri Western’s Esry Student Health Center at (816) 271-4495.
Because the COVID-19 situation is still developing, please stay tuned for additional details and guidance as it becomes available. Also, we invite you to visit the CDC website for ongoing updates and resources on COVID-19.
We know this disruption is challenging. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we all work together in supporting the health and wellbeing of our community.
We will continue to communicate with you about this rapidly evolving situation.
Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.