In preparation for the coronavirus outbreak, Ball State has suspended all work-related travel to three countries and cancelled future study abroad programs, among other steps, according to a campus-wide email sent out March 5.
Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said in the email Ball State has suspended all work-related travel to China, South Korea and Italy.
The university has also decided to cancel all upcoming study abroad programs until further notice, Rivera-Mills said. She said this includes the cancellation of all summer study abroad programs and fall semester study abroad programs scheduled to depart this summer.
This is in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance statement asking higher education institutions to consider postponing or cancelling student foreign exchange programs.
“We are in the process of notifying the people affected by this decision and resolving issues associated with it,” she said. “At this time, we are not recalling students who are already abroad.”
Rivera-Mills said while classes will resume as planned Monday, CDC recommends people who are sick with COVID-19, or suspect that they are, stay home unless they are seeking medical care.
Apart from looking after their own health, she requested faculty to review, and, if necessary, reconsider class attendance policies and communicate with students when they return from spring break. She said this may require them to consider alternative grading options for class attendance and participation.
Ro Anne Royer Engle, interim vice president for student affairs, sent out a campus-wide email March 6 with action steps Ball State community members are required to take if they have traveled to or been in close contact with people who have arrived from countries with sustained transmission of COVID-19 or are known to have the disease.
Those who have left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread of COVID-19 or last had close contact with a person known to have the disease are required to stay at home for 14 days from the time they left an area, according to her email. She also advised these students to monitor their health and practice social distancing.
On campus, she said, Ball State’s cleaning crew are more frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces and restrooms in residence halls and academic buildings.
Ball State also launched a website with information about the virus, prevention, symptoms, treatment and a link to CDC’s website.
According to a Ball State press release, the university has designed and printed 600 “Cover Your Cough” posters that have been posted in halls and campus buildings. The university also reviewed and updated its Influenza Pandemic Plan.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has sickened more than 100,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,400 people as of March 5, according to the Associated Press.
On March 6, Indiana had its first confirmed illness from the coronavirus outbreak. Nationwide, there have been more than 200 confirmed cases and a dozen deaths.