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University administrators proactively outlining actions for Covid-19

Posted March 2, 2020

Covid-19 Coronavirus

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Metropolitan State University and the Minnesota State system office are closely monitoring the potential spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and are revising plans to protect students and staff, and to support the local community. Coronavirus is a viral respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. The Minnesota Department of Health is advising that the risk of becoming sick with Coronavirus at this time in Minnesota is low. We also understand that this situation is unpredictable and could change.

Given the risks associated with COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, under System Procedure 5.19.3, Travel Management, Part 10, subpart f, Minnesota State’s Chancellor has suspended all international travel. This includes study abroad programs and any other activities involving faculty, staff, or students.

Metropolitan State University is proactively outlining actions that would be taken in the event of significant student or staff absences as a result of the virus. This plan primarily focuses on actions to be taken at our locations and those sites where our courses and educational activities are offered, and may vary as needed. The university will follow infection control recommendations from the Department of Health.  

As university administrators develop plans, they will consider the following issues and address campus operations, including:

  • Reporting of student and staff absences – we encourage supervisors and faculty to offer flexibility to employees and students who are sick or caring for sick family members;
  • Attendance policies and grading considerations;
  • Flexible learning options;
  • Travel requirements;
  • Campus cleaning protocols;
  • Prevention strategies and education;
  • Communication to employees and students.

In addition, administrators ask you to stay home if you are sick or experiencing respiratory symptoms:

  • Take precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water;
  • Cover your cough;
  • Consult with your health provider if necessary.

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Anyone in the U.S. who has not traveled to China or been in contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days is at low risk of becoming sick with the virus.  Any actions or language against anyone based on race, ethnicity, or religion in connection with the origins of COVID-19 are unacceptable.

The university will continue to work in partnership with the Minnesota State System Office for the care and protection of its staff, students and faculty and with a commitment to the continuity of the student learning experience.