March 3, 2020 Update

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Dear Berry community,

The spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID – 19) is a major concern throughout the world.  Given its sudden appearance, there is still much that public health experts need to learn in order to understand how best to diagnose and treat the infection and limit its transmission. We all hope that medical scientists are quickly able to understand the nature of this virus. 

Because the situation is still evolving rapidly, I have convened a campus planning group to ensure that we are monitoring the situation carefully and continually, in concert with our local and state health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Remaining attentive to emerging guidelines from these public health officials will enable us to make the best decisions for Berry as the situation continues to unfold. The health, safety, and well-being of the Berry College community is always our top priority and will guide our responses as we learn more about COVID – 19 in coming weeks.

Provost Boyd has been in close contact with our students who are studying abroad and is working with students in countries where the alert status warrants their returning home. We are also reviewing Berry’s summer international programs and will decide on an appropriate course of action as we learn more. Our planning includes preparing alternative academic programs in the event they are needed.

As you pursue travel plans over spring break or during the semester, please be attentive to the status of your destination and any governmental precautions at the State Department and CDC:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

If you choose to travel abroad, we ask that you provide the college with information about your travel itinerary so that we can be alert to any issues that might unfold in coming weeks. A simple form can be completed here:  https://berry.presence.io/form/spring-break-plans.

The best prevention for the spread of any sickness or virus is to follow public health professional recommendations. We all know these steps but do not always take time to follow them in everyday life.  We tend to take our health for granted. These recommendations include:

  • thorough hand-washing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the ABC song twice)
  • use of hand sanitizer (with 60% alcohol or greater)
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • minimizing contact with other people when you are sick

If you have individual health concerns, the Berry Health Center is your best resource. 

The amount of news circulating, some factual and some speculative, can be disconcerting. The link below is your best and most up-to-date resource for information about COVID-19.

CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf

We will also have links on our Berry Health Center web page: https://www.berry.edu/healthcenter

We will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.

Steve Briggs

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