Dear students, staff, and faculty:
The Gallaudet University Crisis Leadership Team (CLT) continues to monitor covid-19 (also known as the 2019-nCoV or coronavirus). In this email message, we will tell you what we know and how Gallaudet is responding.
We are also providing a list of resources in English and American Sign Language. The links are:
- Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus
- Precautions that you can take to prevent illness
- D.C. health update on covid-19 for D.C. Universities and Colleges
- Resources, in both American Sign Language and English
What we know
The covid-19 (or coronavirus) is a respiratory illness. It was first reported in Wuhan, China. According to media reports, several thousand people have become ill, and over 1,000 people have died.
There are no reported cases at Gallaudet University or in the Washington metropolitan area. There are several cases in the United States. Nearly all these cases are in people who recently traveled to China, or who have had contact with people who have traveled to China.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments all over the United States are closely monitoring the covid-19 outbreak. In our area, health directors and other officials have been in communication with one another and are sharing information and resources. Local colleges and universities are doing the same.
CDC considers the immediate risk to the American public to be low at this time. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to detect and contain introductions of this virus to prevent its sustained spread in this country. Strong public health measures now may blunt the impact of the virus in the U.S.
You can take several precautions to reduce the risk of becoming infected with colds, the flu, and respiratory illnesses. These precautions are listed at https://www.gallaudet.edu/student-health-service/health-alerts/2019-ncov-novel-coronavirus/precautions.
How Gallaudet is responding
The Crisis Leadership Team, along with other University officials, is monitoring the covid-19 outbreak closely and establishing procedures should the coronavirus be detected on campus. In particular, we will ensure that residence halls and public areas are cleaned frequently and thoroughly to ensure that the spread of germs is minimized. Our first responders, the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Residence Life and Housing, will be trained on detecting signs and symptoms of covid-19 and will be instructed to ask particular questions about recent travel and potential contact with anyone infected with the covid-19.
In compliance with our travel policy, the University is restricting all official travel to China. This is in accordance with our policy not to travel to nations with a U.S. Department of State warning level 3 or above. At this time, China is level 4 on the Travel Advisory Level.
Counseling and Psychological Services, the Department of Public Safety, Health and Wellness Programs, Residence Life and Housing, and the Student Health Service will provide ongoing support to students who have questions about the coronavirus. They will also ensure that factual information is shared with the community.
As America struggles with eradicating racism and xenophobia, the covid-19 outbreak has triggered racist and xenophobic reactions against Asians and Asian-Americans in some parts of the country due to the origin of the outbreak. Gallaudet University prides itself for being a campus that is very diverse, with students from all over the world. We must continue to be vigilant against incidents of racism and xenophobia that may arise in a climate of ignorance and fear. At this time, there have been no reported incidents of racism and xenophobia related to the coronavirus at Gallaudet; however, we ask that you take a stand against all instances of racism and xenophobia and reporting all observed incidents to the Department of Public Safety; the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and/or the residence hall offices.
Thank you for reading and watching this important message. Let us come together as a community, as we have so many times in the past, to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.
Theodore Baran, Chair
Crisis Leadership Team
Travis Imel, Vice Chair
Crisis Leadership Team