Mar. 4, 2020

A Message from the Dean of Students: COVID-19 Planning Update

Dear Students,

Over the past week you have received messages about College planning and response regarding COVID-19. The circumstances regarding COVID-19 are changing daily, and the College is following guidance from the CDC to ensure we can respond quickly to a variety of circumstances. 

On Monday, Vice President for Finance and Administration Rich Madonna and Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Operations Mary Savage noted that changes in housing assignments may be necessary to isolate students affected by the COVID-19. This email provides an update on these efforts.

It is important to emphasize that there are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus today. The proactive steps we are taking will ensure we are prepared in the event that someone is infected by COVID-19 in the future. 

A critical part of our planning includes methods to isolate students who may contract the virus and cannot go home. While many students who become ill from COVID-19 will return home to recover, others will not be able to leave campus. For that reason, we need a plan that provides appropriate accommodations that limit exposure. 

We have identified Lazrus House as that location, because it contains single rooms as well as a kitchen. Students placed in Lazrus will be expected to stay in the building while recovering. The College will provide students with food delivered to Lazrus and will monitor their progress. 

Yesterday, we were in touch with the current residents in Lazrus to let them know that they will have to move out before spring break so that we can clean the building appropriately. All residents were given alternative room assignments on campus and Residential Education and Living staff are helping them with their moves. We are grateful for the students’ understanding. 

We have always been a community that strives to care for each other, and this is one of those times where we are asking people to be flexible and accommodating for the good of the broader Conn community. 

Beyond the housing changes we are taking, I also want to emphasize the important steps that everyone can take to keep themselves and the community healthy. The CDC recommends the following guidance to help prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading any virus to others, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow or sleeve, not your hand, or use tissues to keep germs from spreading.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, cigarettes or vaping products.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean high touch areas such as doorknobs, railings, phones and computers as often as possible. Using cleaning products or soap and water will most likely kill the virus.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and other messages we have sent about COVID-19. I recommend that you review the FAQs on our COVID-19 website, as we will continually update it with the latest information available. 

Sincerely,

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students