Dear GCC community,
Prior to break we communicated about the importance of being vigilant as our nation and the world wrestle with the Coronavirus. Please read the following update as we prepare to return to community from our time away from campus.
Our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of our campus community, and we continue to stay alert as this situation evolves. At this point, we have no reason to believe there is an immediate threat to our campus, but we are determined to be proactive in being ready to respond should it be necessary. There have been no cases reported on our campus or within our local region or community. The first two cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania have, however, been confirmed in Wayne County and Delaware County. These cases are unrelated, attributed to direct exposure, and as of today, there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, we are preparing contingency plans to respond, should it become necessary. Here are a few things we would like you to know:
- We have assembled a taskforce to monitor the COVID-19 crisis. This taskforce has developed a response plan and will continue to refine it in response to the guidance received from the CDC, PA Heath Department and others. This team will report directly to President McNulty with updates and direction on the steps needed as the situation unfolds.
- One of these steps will be having campus services staff continually disinfect high-traffic areas on campus.
- Sanitizer stations have also been stocked and located at the following locations: PFAC- 5 stations, TLC-5, Buhl Library-2, STU-3, Hick's Cafe-2, HAL-6, Zerbe-8, Ketler-3, Crawford-3, Fieldhouse-4, MAP Cafe-2, and the PLC-9.
- Please plan to use them and to follow the directives provide by the CDC below, including frequent handwashing.
- Students with current "flu-like symptoms” are encourage to stay home and get well before returning to campus.
- Those who become ill with respiratory illness are asked to self-isolate in their room and to contact the Zerbe Health Center at 724-458-3850 to schedule an appointment to be seen.
- We are particularly mindful of the students involved in independent study abroad and are currently evaluating all travel offerings scheduled to take place in the near future.
- We have been proactive in communicating with faculty and staff and in defining contingency plans for maintaining our commitment to academic excellence.
- The Zerbe Health and Wellness Center is monitoring all available information from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and other agencies to train and prepare to respond immediately to any eventual case of COVID-19 which might occur on our campus.
To prevent the spread of this and most other viruses, the CDC recommends the following:
- Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or more under warm water with soap.
- Use alcohol-based sanitizer if unable to wash hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, face and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you cough, sneeze or have a runny nose, always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
- Throw used tissues into a trash can immediately and wash your hands thoroughly before touching anything or anyone.
- Do not share food, drink, utensils or dishes with others, and wash dishes, cups and silverware after use to prevent someone else from using contaminated items.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will implement protocols in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if needed. We are also working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and will continue to communicate any updates and/or best practices for prevention so as to assure the wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
For the most up-to-date information about 2019-nCoV, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Larry E. Hardesty
Vice President for Student Life and Learning