IMPORTANT Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
April 7, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
As we continue to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important that everyone follow current guidelines to help our campus community remain healthy and safe. Most importantly, if you are sick, have a temperature, cough or generally do not feel well, please stay home and do not come to work. Getting through this health crisis will take all of us working together.
Today, one of the college’s independent contractors came to work feeling ill. The contractor was asked to leave based upon the college’s visual-verbal protocol and has subsequently tested negative for influenza; COVID-19 results are now pending. According to their protocol, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) reached out to those who may have been in close contact with the contractor. Through this process, RIDOH identified one employee who must enter quarantine. In addition, and out of an abundance of caution, another employee is also in self-quarantine. The college has already taken immediate steps to clean and sanitize the work area according to CDC standards.
Following guidance from the CDC, let me reiterate a number of mitigating activities each of us can take to minimize community transmission of COVID-19 and to promote a healthy campus environment:
- Create habits and reminders to avoid touching your face and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze (and immediately dispose of the tissue).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and water are not available use 60-95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, tables, desks and handrails.
- Wear cloth face coverings when out in public.
- Limit food sharing.
- Stop handshaking and use other non-contact methods of greeting.
- Limit interactions to five (5) people – the same five people.
- Keep a daily journal of all the people you interact with each day. This is an important part of contact tracing.
- Maintain distance (approximately six feet or two meters).
- Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.
- Use teleconferencing and videoconferencing for meetings when possible. If not, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
- Stay home from work and school when you feel sick.
Please contact the Rhode Island Department of Health to learn more about COVID-19 testing sites throughout the community.
Visual-Verbal Employee Health Screening Update
Protecting the health and well-being of our campus community is our top priority, so the college is currently participating in a visual-verbal health screening pilot program to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All faculty and staff who report to work will complete a screening upon entering the workplace. Screenings will take place each day until further notice.
Your immediate supervisor will ask you if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: cough, fever of 100.4° F or greater, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea.
You will also be asked if you have returned from international travel or travel on a cruise ship within the last 14 days; if you have traveled domestically (within the U.S.) on an airline within the last 14 days; and if you have had known exposure to someone suspected of or diagnosed with COVID-19.
The screening process does NOT include temperature checks or recording of personal information. Confidentiality is important and we are implementing this screening process as an additional measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The questions in these screenings may change as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rhode Island Department of Health issue further guidance.
If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, you will be instructed to return home and to contact Human Resources (HR). It is imperative that you provide honest and accurate responses to the screening to ensure your health and the health of your colleagues.
Please remember that if you are sick or not feeling well and suspect that you have COVID-19, you should not report to work. Instead, you should call your primary care physician or other health care provider and inform your supervisor that you are not feeling well. If you are teleworking and develop symptoms or come in contact with someone who is suspected of or has tested positive for COVID-19, please also notify your supervisor and HR.
If appropriate, you should discuss with your supervisor your eligibility to take advantage of a teleworking arrangement or paid leave.
REMINDER - REGARDING YOUR EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) BENEFITS:
- Visit optumeap.com for the latest COVID-19 support resources from the EAP provider Optum, including educational flyers and new webinars that help you cope with the stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19.
- The Optum Public Crisis Hotline (866-342-6892) is free and open to anyone seeking emotional support during this difficult time.
For additional information regarding all your EAP benefits go to: http://www.employeebenefits.ri.gov/wellness/eap.php
Mire este mensaje en español.
Stay Informed. Stay Connected.
As the virus and the response continues to evolve, make sure to check our website or send us an email if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep our campus community and each other healthy and safe during this time.
Yours in education,
Frank D. Sánchez