Important message from President Bitterbaum: novel coronavirus COVID-19

Important message from President Bitterbaum: novel coronavirus COVID-19

03/10/2020 

To the campus community:

The current outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to cause great concern around the world and among members of the SUNY Cortland community. To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported among SUNY Cortland students, faculty or staff members. The university is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the New York State Department of Health and SUNY System Administration and aggressively implementing all of their recommendations.

It is important that all members of our community have a realistic understanding of the potential threat and are aware of the steps that we continue to take to ensure everyone’s well-being. To that end, SUNY Cortland has created a COVID-19 resource and update page on our website. I encourage everyone to visit it frequently for the latest campus news related to the disease and accurate information about the virus and the work being done to address it.

As we approach our campus’s spring break, many of our students, faculty and staff may be planning to return to, or visit, areas where COVID-19 cases are increasing. Others may be traveling domestically or internationally and could be exposed through airports or other crowded venues. We want all members of the campus community to stay safe and be prepared for any eventuality. To that end, a message outlining information about spring break was sent to students today by Greg Sharer, Vice President for Student Affairs. I encourage all community members to familiarize themselves with it.

SUNY Cortland is also taking proactive measures that will help us provide essential information to campus community members who may have traveled internationally since February 15, live with a person who has recently returned, or are planning to travel internationally in the next couple of months.

Students, faculty and staff can help us by completing a new form that lets the university know about upcoming international travel as well as international trips since February 15. This form should also be completed if you live with, or are required to care for, a family member or other person who may have traveled internationally since February 15 or is planning to do so. 

For any upcoming travel, please be sure to read the travel recommendations issued by the CDC and the organization's travel FAQ.

In addition, our faculty today received a message from Provost Mark Prus asking them to begin making preparations to adjust their delivery of academic education should the changing situation require it.

To be clear, the current plan is for classes to resume after spring break. At this time, SUNY Cortland classes will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020; however, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and we are preparing for all potential contingencies.

Finally, remember to practice good preventative measures, and take precautions to protect your health. The CDC recommends the following actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

·     Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

·     Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

·     Avoid close contact with people who are sick

·     Stay home when you are sick

·     Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)

·     Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Supporting the health and well-being of members of the campus community is our highest priority. I wish you all a relaxing and healthy spring break!

 

All the best,

Erik J. Bitterbaum

President


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