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Update on COVID-19 Planning from President Jackson

 

Dear Students and Colleagues,

I write to update you about campus planning related to COVID-19 and to reassure you that Humboldt State University is taking appropriate steps on behalf of our campus community.

As of today, there has not been community transmission of COVID-19 in Humboldt County. We have had no cases on campus.

HSU COVID-19 website

I have heard from many of you about your personal concerns. These are often about your students, family, and friends, and I share your desire to care for those around us and those in our community who are most vulnerable. Although our campus remains open, we must be flexible in supporting members of our community who wish to engage in social distancing practices, which may mitigate the spread of the disease. Later this week additional information will be available on the campus website about social distancing.

This disease is progressing in ways that are difficult to predict. While Humboldt County has not seen community spread, it has occurred in nearby counties and throughout the Bay Area. Our responses going forward will need to be flexible and nimble, so please pay close attention to campus updates and changes to campus guidelines.

Our top priority in addressing COVID-19 issues is to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Decisions regarding our campus will be based on HSU’s unique circumstances and recommendations from our local health officials. In order to best coordinate our response across campus, we activated our Emergency Operations Center on February 25, and the group is meeting regularly.

HSU leadership has been meeting daily, and is consulting closely with the CSU system office, other CSU campuses, the College of the Redwoods, and school districts. We are following guidelines of Humboldt County Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. We will continue to seek guidance from these organizations and others as we make decisions around instructional continuity, appropriate responses if there is a case on campus, international and domestic travel, events, meetings, and more.

Based on consultation with these organizations, as well as the fact that there are no known cases of COVID-19 at HSU’s campus, we are continuing to operate our classes as usual. This is consistent with the guidelines from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. 

I am grateful for the efforts of our academic leadership and faculty to plan for instructional continuity should further measures be warranted. While there is no single approach for all of our classes, labs, and field experiences, there are many ways that we can prepare to accommodate student engagement and learning. Resources are available on the University’s new Keep Teaching website.

If you are ill and have traveled out of the country in the last two weeks or if have had close contact with a person known to be infected by COVID- 19:

  • Notify your local health care provider as soon as possible.
  • Stay home and do not come to campus for classes or for work.
  • Students with fevers, cough, or severe illness should call the Student Health & Wellbeing Services team before visiting the Student Health Center at 707-826-3146.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their healthcare providers or the emergency room to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

General Health Guidelines

  • Stay home if you are sick or have a fever. You should remain at home until your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours.
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face and eyes, nose, mouth.
  • Routinely clean your home particularly for high touch surfaces like doorknobs.
  • Consider limiting attendance at optional large gatherings because this is where colds, flu, and other respiratory viral infections are spread.

As individuals and as a community, we must make reasonable efforts to reduce the potential of person-to-person transmission. I remain in contact with our University Senate chair and others. This is a time of great uncertainty, and I appreciate your efforts and patience as we continue to work through our responses. 

I also appreciate our shared commitment to not tolerate harassment in our community. Stigma hurts everyone and can lead to decreased willingness to report possible exposure to COVID-19. We can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support as well as learning and sharing facts about how the virus spreads.

Sincerely,

Tom Jackson, Jr.
President