Area universities release statements regarding coronavirus preparedness

Coronavirus

UPDATE: (03/11/2020 3:27 PM) MONROE, LA– Some colleges in the ArkLaMiss are already taking action to combat the threat of the coronavirus. Some of those actions include cleaning all “high touch” surfaces every day to canceling study abroad programs. However, the next step could change the way students go to classes.

As the coronavirus becomes more real for college students, staff, and parents, the idea of virtual class instead of face to face instructors is a plan three colleges in this area are reviewing.

University of Louisiana Monroe’s President, Nick Bruno, released a statement about how COVID-19 is impacting the campus and how they plan to keep students and staff safe. In that statement he says, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, then spread through human-to-human contact.”

As the virus can be spread through coughing, sneezing, human contact, and surface contact, one ULM senior says he is okay with whatever precautions are taken.

“I think that any step that can prevent the spread of it needs to be taken,” said Gavin Williams, senior at ULM.

President Bruno says ULM has canceled 1 study abroad program in Hong Kong, a two-week exchange program with visiting students and faculty members from Japan, and a program in Italy. In addition, communication regarding a revised travel policy will be sent out this week.

“Now that there has been cases confirmed in Louisiana, it’s obviously more of a concern and people are talking about it a little more,” said Williams.

The precautions don’t stop there, President Bruno says, “The success of our students is a top priority of ULM. Academic Affairs is exploring online instruction options.”

Williams says he would be okay with online classes, but face-to-face instructors offer something that the virtual world can’t.

“I also like the face- to -face, especially now that I am in the meat of my classes in my senior year. So I feel like face- to- face is really important gaining hands-on professional training,” said Williams.

However, if ULM goes to all online classes, it could cause worry for seniors who plan to graduate at the end of this semester.

“I could see how some classes could require hands-on experience and stuff like that. It could prevent us from graduating on time. But I would think ULM would make the proper accommodations to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Williams.

In addition to ULM, we reached out to the other colleges in this area about making classes virtual instead of face to face. Louisiana Tech University said, “We are looking at various preparedness strategies to ensure our students, faculty, and staff stay healthy and safe. We are looking at various options for course delivery.”


In addition, Louisiana Delta Community College says, “College officials are also evaluating emergency preparedness plans related to continuation of instruction in an off-campus environment in the event of the continued spread of COVID-19.”

We did reach out to Grambling State University but haven’t heard back.

Below are the full press releases from the universities.


UPDATE: (03/12/2020 4:42 PM) GRAMBLING, LA– Today, Grambling State University announced the cancellation of several Spring campus events through April 30, including the annual Spring High School Day, Women’s History Convocation and campus visit by John Warner Smith, Louisiana’s Poet Laureate. 

“Any threat to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff takes immediate precedence over all other considerations,” said President Gallot. “We see the cancellation of these Spring events as an important step in protecting our campus from potential exposure.” 

Grambling State’s Spring Event Cancellations include the following, however other events may be canceled in conjunction with ongoing safety precautions:  

  • Women’s History Convocation 
  • Black College Dance Exchange 
  • High School Day 
  • Tiger Fest 
  • HBCU Innovation  
  • HBCU CRNA Tour 
  • Title III Regional Event 
  • Poet Laureate Visit 
  • STEMGrambling 
  • Criminal Justice Lecture Series 
  • Presidents Prayer Breakfast 
  • Concert Choir Spring Performance in Paris

The University also requires cancellation of all activities led by Student Organizations. This list may be updated as needed. Follow @grambling1901 for more updates. 

Further information on the University’s COVID-19 Prevention and Response efforts is forthcoming.


UPDATE: (03/11/2020 3:27 PM) WEST MONROE, La. — Louisiana Delta Community College’s Acting Chancellor Chris Broadwater issued the following statement regarding COVID-19:

“As a global community, we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus. Louisiana Delta Community College officials are committed to ensuring the health and wellness of students, faculty and staff. College leadership remains highly engaged in monitoring and communicating the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Division of Administration (DoA).

LDCC has employed preventative measures and consistent practices of sanitation as are essential for persons and facilities. College officials are also evaluating emergency preparedness plans related to continuation of instruction in an off campus environment in the event of the continued spread of COVID-19. For now, administration remains focused on delivering quality instruction to our students across our eight campuses.”


ORIGINAL: (03/11/2020 12:48 PM) WEST MONROE, La. — The University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech University have released information regarding their preparations for the spread of COVID-19.

ULM released a letter that states in part that the university has canceled abroad programs, revised their travel policies, and even begun exploring online instruction options.

The letter states that ULM is committed to the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff.

Louisiana Tech University said in a statement, ” Like all colleges and universities, we are looking at various preparedness strategies to ensure our students, faculty, and staff stay healthy and safe. We are looking at various options for course delivery to ensure students continue to progress toward their academic goals.

We have put in place two interim policies related to travel to and from countries on the Centers for Disease Control international travel watch list. These measures – made under the advisement of our University of Louisiana System leadership – relate to both personal travel and University-funded travel.  

The interim university travel measures prohibit University-sponsored travel by students, faculty, and staff to nations the CDC has included on its coronavirus travel warning list. The interim personal travel measures require that any student or employee who, with personal time and money, travels to nations the CDC has included on its coronavirus travel warning list remain away from campus for 14 days starting from the date of their departure from the nation on the list.

My Executive Leadership team is meeting daily and is in constant communication with federal and state officials for information and guidance. We will be vigilant and continue to communicate as the situation in Louisiana changes.”

KTVE/KARD has reached out to Grambling State University and Delta Community College and we will update this article when their information becomes available.

Continue reading for the full letter from ULM President Nick Bruno.

University of Louisiana Monroe President Nick J. Bruno, Jr., Ph.D., released a letter to the students, faculty and staff, providing information on the university’s preparations for the spread of coronavirus.

The president’s letter is as follows:

I want to keep you updated on the latest information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact to campus.

Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed on Tuesday, March 10 that Louisiana now has six presumptive cases of COVID-19. Because these are presumptive cases, further testing is required to confirm the patient has the virus. All presumptive cases are in the New Orleans area. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, then spread through human-to-human contact.

The CDC states that human coronavirus spreads similar to the flu or a cold — through the air by coughing or sneezing; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an object or surface with the viruses on it.

While the risk of contraction for the general population is low, older adults and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions – such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at higher risk for developing serious COVID-19 illness. 

I encourage you to stay informed on preventative measures that can be taken. Some preventative measures issued by the University of California San Diego are:

  • Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involved locations where other people have been.
  • No handshaking! Use a fist bump or elbow bump.
  • Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. 
  • Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other commonly touched areas.
  • Open doors with a closed hand or your hip, especially important for the bathroom and commercial doors.
  • Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when available to wipe shopping cart handles.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands. 
  • Contain – if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

What is the university doing to prepare?

ULM has canceled one study abroad program, the MBA study abroad program in Hong Kong. Also, ULM canceled a two-week exchange program with visiting students and faculty members from Japan, along with a scholar from Japan that had a one-year planned stay. The University of Louisiana System has also canceled a program in Italy.

The university will release a revised travel policy that applies to all students, faculty, and staff, with guidelines to follow during university-sponsored travel or personal travel. The revised travel policy states:

(1) All university-sponsored travel to Level 1 or greater countries as defined by the CDC is prohibited;

(2) Discourages international personal travel;

(3) ULM strongly urges extreme caution and judgment for your personal domestic travel; the university continues to monitor conditions within the United States and take appropriate action relative to travel if warranted;

(4) 14-day quarantine period for travelers to CDC listed Level 1 or greater countries

(5) Mandatory reporting of travel to Affected Countries to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety;

Communication regarding the revised travel policy will be sent out this week. Shane Dykes, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, will be the campus point of contact for this process. Mr. Dykes will regularly provide updates regarding interim coronavirus policies. 

ULM is aggressively reviewing its Business Continuity Plan. The university is a complex organization, and each department is reviewing business practices to determine if it is possible to work remotely, if needed. Some university functions cannot work remotely, and there will be guidance in place for employees that must report to work.

The success of our students is a top priority of ULM. Academic Affairs is exploring online instruction options. It is anticipated that a full Business Continuity Plan will be completed within a week.

The university janitorial/custodial staff has begun to clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, such as countertops, tabletops, and doorknobs with CDC recommended cleaning and disinfecting products. The janitorial and custodial staff is also continuously refilling all campus antibacterial and soap dispensers.

Additionally, the College of Health Sciences and College of Pharmacy will be hosting a COVID-19 seminar that will share information and research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other resources, and address some of the most frequently asked questions and myths related to COVID-19. The seminar is free and open to the public and will be held Tuesday, March 17 at 12 noon, in the Terrace (7th floor of the University Library). The event will also be livestreamed on the ULM Facebook page.

ULM is committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We are following guidelines and best practices in alignment with the CDC, Governor John Bel Edwards’ Coronavirus Task Force, and the University of Louisiana System.

Please be sure to download the ULM Safe App to stay up to date on campus alerts. 

I will continue to keep you informed as we continue to monitor the situation.

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