Clerc Center Community,
As we communicated last week, we are working closely with the University on preparations and readiness related to the coronavirus. President Cordano recently addressed campus to share the most current status for Gallaudet. She emphasized that it is critical for everyone to seek facts and official sources of information during this time. She also confirmed that there is no active case of COVID-19 on campus at this time. Her full communication can be seen below.
We are committed to ensuring the well-being, health, and safety of our students and staff and will be following all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to monitor, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19). As we are seeing all over the country, this guidance is quickly evolving. Local Universities are starting to move classes to online instruction. Gallaudet is assessing their program. We will be looking at what that means for us and communicating updates regularly.
Over the weekend, DC Health confirmed the District’s first presumptive positive test result for the coronavirus. While the presence of the coronavirus in the District is understandably concerning, it is not unexpected given the spread of the virus globally and in the United States. There is still no widespread community transmission, and our priority continues to be prevention.
Currently, we are working to prepare for any possible need to close our schools. This is a decision we would not make lightly – continued teaching and learning is our priority – but we also need to be sure our community is safe and remains healthy.
Today, we wanted to share with you some of the criteria we would use to evaluate if a closing was necessary:
- Directive from the DC Department of Health
- A student or employee at the Clerc Center or University is diagnosed with coronavirus and has interacted with employees or students.
- There is a threat of exposure by employees, students, or parents who may have come in contact with the virus and had extended interactions with other members of the community. We know that the incubation period for this virus is 14 days so it is likely a person who is diagnosed will have interacted with others prior to knowing they had the virus. (e.g. A parent of a student is diagnosed with Coronavirus and the parent recently chaperoned a field trip; An employee’s spouse is diagnosed and the employee has been coming to work prior to diagnosis)
- Local public schools close for extended periods
- DC decides to reduce or stop public transportation
- MARC reduces or stops service
Major transportation hubs in other cities start to close
Should we face one of the situations above, the Clerc Center leadership will convene with University leaders to make a decision about closure.
If we do need to close, all school and business related activities will be suspended, including IEP meetings. If you are scheduled for an IEP meeting during any closure, staff will be in touch to reschedule. We recognize a closure like this has many impacts and we do not yet have all the questions answered. We will continue to communicate as more information is available.
We recognize a school closure has many impacts, especially for families. We will give families as much notice as we are able, while still maintaining a safe environment for everyone. MSSD students will need to travel home, assuming it is safe to do so, or make arrangements to stay with a friend. Costs of travel (or costs to change existing travel plans if the closure includes Spring Break), will be covered by the Clerc Center.
Please see our previous communication dated Friday, March 6, for details related to preventative measures both schools are taking to ensure a safe environment for all.
Again, we all hope these preparations do not need to be implemented but we want to ensure campus readiness in the event a closure is needed. Please watch for regular communications to keep the community informed.
Marianne Belsky, Chief Academic Officer
Nicole Sutliffe, Chief Administrative Officer