In an email sent to Samford University faculty on Wednesday, Provost Michael Hardin instructed all teaching faculty to develop a continuity plan if classes are canceled should the spread of the coronavirus reach campus.
“Unfortunately, worldwide events concerning the potential spread of the Coronavirus are forcing us to take some immediate steps for emergency preparedness,” Hardin said in the email. “We are one week away from spring break, and many members of our community have travel plans that could exacerbate the potential for an interruption of our normal semester routine. Thus, I need to alert you to immediate steps necessary to ensure continuity of instruction if events force a campus shut down and/or quarantine.”
Hardin has asked faculty members to spend a few minutes with each class before spring break to discuss a plan if there is a campus shutdown.
“Recognize that a quarantine situation could close the campus for multiple weeks,” Hardin said.
Yesterday, Samford updated its suspended travel list to include South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan in addition to mainland China and Hong Kong. Those who decide to travel to those countries may face a 14-day quarantine, according to the university.
“Personal travel by members of the Samford community to the areas cited above is strongly discouraged,” Buck Brock, executive vice president, said in the email. “Should you choose to visit one of these areas, you must be evaluated by a health care provider prior to returning to campus and you may be subject to a 14-day quarantine at your own expense.”
COVID-19 is a rapidly spreading viral disease that has infected 83,861 people at the time of press, according to John Hopkins University. Illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illnesses and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are currently no cases in the state of Alabama.
However, Alabama’s Department of Public Health is preparing Alabama communities for the potential spread of COVID-19, according to a press release from the state agency on Feb. 26.
The ADPH Center for Emergency Preparedness is currently coordinating with multiple state agencies and helping prepare hospitals for screening and quarantine, including patient care and treatment. The ADPH is also in contact with the Alabama Department of Education as well as with schools and businesses across the state and offering guidance as new information becomes available.
Reporting by Daniel Dodson, William Marlow and Katy Beth Boyers