COVID-19 Community Update – March 4, 2020
Dear Northwest University community member,
We have received new guidance today from Public Health—Seattle & King County, so I have new information for our community. Here is the content from their website at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/news/2020/March/4-covid-recommendations.aspx:
Public Health is recommending, but not requiring, the following steps:
- People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:
- People 60 and older
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
- People who have weakened immune systems
- People who are pregnant
- Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness.
- If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.
- Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, Public Health will work with the school and the district to determine the best measures including potential closure of the school.
- All people should not go out when they are sick.
- Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.
More detail on these measures will be available at www.kingcounty.gov/covid.
In response to these recommendations, Northwest has adopted the following guidelines:
- The university is not closed.
- We follow Public Health—Seattle & King County in recommending but not requiring that students and employees fitting into any of the higher-risk categories should stay home and work or study from there.
- Employees should contact their supervisors for permission to work from home if they are at higher risk as defined above. Such employees will be automatically approved to work from home. (Faculty have already been trained to teach remotely, but they should let their supervisor know their plans). People working at home will be counted as present for work if they have been approved by their supervisors and will not need to report their time as sick leave.
- Employees of our outsourcing partners should contact their employer for guidance.
- Students should let their professors know if they will not attend class in order to be marked as present. They will be required to stay current with class assignments.
- Any employee who is sick should stay home and report their absence as sick time.
- We do not see any need to consider a staggering start or end time.
- Students on the cafeteria board plan who opt to stay in campus housing and need a to-go meal because of sickness can ask a friend or their RA to bring it to them on the disposable trays now available at the cafeteria. No identification card is required.
Spring Break starts on Friday night, so that will take off some of the pressure for a few days. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through these difficult circumstances. Let's stay in prayer and live in faith. The more we stand together in love and kindness, the stronger we will be in the end. We will plan to celebrate the end of this situation once it all winds down.
Joseph Castleberry, Ed.D.
President, Northwest University