RECAST | Information on COVID-19
The latest news about the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) is a good reminder that the health of our community is our collective responsibility. We are writing to ask for your support in amplifying the message from our local public health officials as you connect with your students this week. We also want to make sure that you are keeping yourselves as safe as possible, and let you know about your options for staying home, if that becomes necessary.
At present, we do not know of any cases of COVID-19 in Thurston County or the Evergreen campus community. We also want to be prepared in the event of the disease reaching our campus.
Many of you have studied and read about community resilience, so you know that the relationships we have with each other, and our access to reliable information, are the keys to our ability to thrive in the face of a public health crisis. We are here to support you in making the best possible choices for yourself and your students, and we thank you for everything you are already doing to take care of each other.
What students need to know
Please remind your students of the crucial steps they can take to protect themselves and others. As faculty members, you are in a good position to share reliable information with our student community.
Public health officials are telling us that the best way to contain the virus is to cover your cough/sneeze, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and stay home when you’re sick.
If possible, it’s also a good idea to disinfect surfaces that you come into contact with regularly.
If students are concerned that they may be sick, they should call Student Wellness Services at (360) 867-6200 or their health care provider, rather than showing up in person.
Responding to student absences
Encourage students to stay home if they are sick, rather than coming to class. Given that it is the end of the quarter, students maybe concerned about missing assignments, lectures, seminars or final presentations.
With this in mind, please be responsive to students who believe they may be sick and work with them to create reasonable options for make-up work. Your absence and credit policy may need to be updated at this time.
If you are concerned about specific students coming to class, please remember that all of us may have implicit biases we are not aware of, and we don’t want to stigmatize anyone unintentionally. Evergreen does notcurrently have a policy requiring students to show a note from a medical provider verifying a clean bill of health for them to attend class. For more on stigma reduction see: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/StigmaReduction
A work group is meeting on Thursday, March 5 to discuss training and development opportunities for expanded use of online teaching tools. We hope to have more detailed information for you by the end of the week about the options available to you as faculty members. Many of you already use Canvas, which is well equipped to handle online discussions and various ways of delivering content. Please direct your questions about this to Elizabeth Williamson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are concerned about your own health
Trevor Speller (email@example.com) is responsible for coordinating faculty leave and reasonable accommodations. If you have an underlying medical condition that puts you at greater risk and need to pursue a full or partial medical leave, Trevor and the staff in Human Resources will work with you to make sure that reasonable accommodations are made available to you.
President Bridges sent out an email on February 28 with information about the campus response. You can read that email here: https://www.evergreen.edu/news/post/update-coronaviruscovid-19. Future communications will be sent via e-mail and posted to Evergreen’s website.
Thurston County Public Health & Social Services has an up-to-date webpage on the status of the disease in our area, as well as multiple fact sheets and resources. https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
Additional resources are the Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
CDC information (including current situation summary, how to protect yourself, and travel advisories): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Jen and Elizabeth
Jennifer Drake, PhD | Provost and Vice President for Student & Academic Life
3805 Library, The Evergreen State College
2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW, Olympia, Washington 98505
(360) 867-6400 I firstname.lastname@example.org