As the coronavirus picks up momentum, especially in the U.S., Volunteer State Community College is reminding students and faculty of its preparation for the virus, the steps it is taking to minimize the virus’ spread and reminding community members of what they can do to minimize the spread. The college’s preparation includes reviewing and updating its response plan in the case of spread of the virus as well as deep cleaning the campus to mitigate its potential spread.
In a letter by Vol State’s President, Jerry Faulkner, he states that the college is closely monitoring the outbreak as well as receiving information from “federal and state health agencies to help evaluate and revise practices as needed.” According to the letter, the college has a response plan that was developed years ago which is updated regularly to adapt to new situations. “We will implement the plan as required by the situation,” states Faulkner.
According to a page on Vol State’s website covering the coronavirus situation, the college is reviewing policies and procedures to protect the campus community as well as academic continuity plans to ensure those affected can continue their coursework, monitoring international student trips to ensure these students can travel and return safely and “updating and preparing to implement departmental pandemic matrices and business continuity plans in the event of continued spread of COVID-19.”
The college is also taking steps to physically mitigate the spread of the virus by ensuring the campus is thoroughly deep cleaned. This includes a two-step wipe down process of surfaces that are frequently touched such as computer keyboards and mice. The physical plant staff is also ensuring soap dispensers are always filled, as well as replacing the normal hand sanitizer with an alcohol based material that is more effective in combating the virus.
Community members are reminded in the letter of the steps they can take to minimize their chance of infection and minimize the potential spread of the virus by:
· “frequent handwashing with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
· using alcohol based hand sanitizer when washing is not convenient.
· coughing and sneezing into your sleeve not your hand.
· keeping hands/fingers away from the eyes, nose, and mouth.
· staying home if you are exhibiting symptoms especially if you have a fever.
· reinforcing these every day good health habits at home to avoid illness there as well.”
The virus appears to have began in Wuhan, China in late 2019 according to the Center of Disease Control. According to its website, the current coronavirus, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019 abbreviated) is just one of various different types of coronaviruses such as SARs and MERS which caused their own concerns when they emerged in 2002 and 2012 respectively according to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The virus has steamrolled in the past two months infecting 90,000 people in at least 77 countries, killing over 3,000. The virus spreads from person-to-person contact. According to the World Health Organization the virus has 3.4 percent mortality rate, higher than the season flu. However, according to the WHO it does not transmit as easily as the seasonal flu. The mortality rate doesn’t include those with mild symptoms and is spiked due to the cases in Wuhan, China so the rate might be reduced once officials receive the full picture.
Now in the U.S., the virus has been reported in Washington, California, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. According to the CDC, communities should prepare for rapid spreading and find ways to combat this.
The virus resembles pneumonia like symptoms as it causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may range from mild to severe according to the CDC.
For more information on how the virus spreads, how to minimize its spread and the current situation one can follow these links: