Dear Lewis & Clark Community Members:
Lewis & Clark continues to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and prepare for the potential for the illness to affect Lewis & Clark community members–domestically and overseas. This is a swiftly evolving situation. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in Oregon.
In all that we do, we are following public health best practices guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, local health authorities, and the American College Health Association. We also encourage students, faculty, and staff to bookmark and routinely check the resource links in this message and the Health Promotion and Wellness blog. We will provide updated guidance as it becomes available.
With spring break coming soon, many community members plan to travel. The continued spread of COVID-19 to countries around the world may present challenges to travelers. It is important to consider not only the potential exposure to the virus from traveling abroad but also the possibility of being stranded abroad due to travel restrictions being put in place while traveling. Depending on developments with the disease, travelers may find themselves unable to return to the U.S. after travel to high-risk countries.
The CDC is currently monitoring COVID-19 and provides international travel advisories. (We also recommend visiting the U.S. Department of State’s site for travel warnings and restrictions.) There are three levels of CDC advisories:
- Watch Level 1 Travelers should practice usual precautions, but the CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel.
- Alert Level 2 Travelers who are older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
- Warning Level 3 Travelers should avoid all nonessential travel. As of February 28, 2020, China and South Korea are the only two countries to which this advisory applies, but this is subject to change.
The best way to prevent getting sick with COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to the virus. The CDC recommends taking these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of this and other respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick. Whenever possible, ill students should email faculty to inform them of absences. Employees should email supervisors.
What to Do If You Are Sick
For students in Portland If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath) AND have recently (in the last 14 days) traveled to an affected area or had close contact with someone who has, contact the Health Service or your care provider by phone. They will be able to provide the most up-to-date information and screening.
If the Health Service is closed, you should contact Lewis & Clark’s Nurse Consultation Service (1-800-607-5501) for guidance. In emergency situations, get help immediately by calling 911. If you are on campus, remember to also call Campus Safety at 503-768-7777 so that they can help emergency responders reach you.
For students on overseas programs If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath), follow the guidance provided by the Overseas and Off-Campus Programs office and your in-country program staff.
For faculty and staff If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath) AND have recently (in the last 14 days) traveled to an affected area or had close contact with someone who has, contact your health care provider by phone. They will be able to provide the most up-to-date information and screening.
Support for Community Members
In some cities around the world, there has been a xenophobic reaction to COVID-19, blaming the virus on community members who are perceived to come from Asia. Lewis & Clark stands with community members from all affected areas, and students of all races and ethnicities. Xenophobia has no place in our community. As always, any community member who experiences discrimination in any form is encouraged to contact the Bias Assessment Response Team.
As we face the challenges associated with COVID-19, clear and accurate information is our best resource. The webpages of the Oregon Health Authority, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization offer information and tools to help you learn about the outbreak, including steps being taken to prevent the spread of the disease. We ask for everyone’s help to keep our community healthy and safe.
If you have questions about information in this message, please email COVID19info@lclark.edu.
Robin Holmes-Sullivan, PhD
Vice President for Student Life
Lewis & Clark