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March 9, 2020

COVID-19 update regarding spring break

To the University community,

We would like to update you on the latest developments as they pertain to the University and news of the coronavirus disease called COVID-19.

Last Friday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the Commonwealth’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19. Since then, additional cases have been confirmed in our region. The University continues to work with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH). At present, there are no confirmed cases in Philadelphia.

Our University’s spring break is scheduled for March 16-20. It is not uncommon for members of the La Salle community to travel during spring break, which creates a new dynamic around which we are developing preparedness plans. Therefore, and in line with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation, the University is requesting a 14-day self-monitoring process for any students, faculty members, or staff members who travel over the next two weeks to countries that have been designated by the CDC as having sustained transmissions of COVID-19. Currently, these countries are: China, Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea.

Self-monitoring means we are asking you to stay home for two weeks upon returning from these countries, as your travel plans may have put you in plausible contact with individuals impacted by COVID-19. While self-monitoring, you are urged to remain at home, take your temperature daily, and avoid group settings and public spaces. This action is being taken as a precaution. Our focus will always remain on ensuring the protection and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We believe this is in the best interest of not only those in our community, but of those around us.

For faculty and staff: 

Remain flexible and accommodating while working with students who are impacted by our self-monitoring request.

A forthcoming e-mail message will provide additional information about a learning opportunity being offered during tomorrow’s free period that will help you prepare for possible alterations to the delivery of your academic instruction, should this situation worsen and require interruptions to standard University operation.

Also, the request to self-monitor for 14 days may have an effect on your available sick-time allowance or ability to care for loved ones. Please follow these steps, if you have traveled or plan to travel to the aforementioned countries:

  • Notify your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources (hr@lasalle.edu) of the dates and destination(s) to which you have traveled or will travel.
    • If applicable, the Office of Human Resources will establish and record the dates of your 14-day self-monitoring period.
  • Faculty and staff who are required to observe the 14-day self-monitoring period should work with their supervisor to make arrangements to work remotely during that period. For employees who are not able to work remotely during a required self-monitoring period, the supervisor should contact the Office of Human Resources.

As a reminder, the University has the following applicable policies in place to accommodate the need for time off:

For students:

We ask you to connect with your professors to inform them of any need to self-monitor and to make appropriate arrangements for temporarily continuing your coursework remotely.

Everyone is advised to familiarize themselves with best-practice recommendations issued by the CDC:

  • Practice social distancing. This means you should keep more than three feet between yourself and the next closest person, particularly when that person is visibly sick (coughing, sneezing, etc.).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or with a tissue, then throw away the tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Additional Information

Take time to care for yourself. Call your doctor, seek medical attention, and stay home if you don’t feel well. Before visiting a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead to alert them about your recent travel and the symptoms you are experiencing.

If possible, reconsider your travel plans. If you are or will be traveling abroad, regardless of the destination, U.S. citizens are eligible to register their travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The level of a country’s travel health notice is subject to elevation with little or no warning. Registration in STEP, a free service, allows U.S. citizens and nationals abroad to be more readily located by embassy personnel in the event of an emergency.

Please notify your division’s vice president if you are planning to host international guests, visitors, or scholars at any point through the end of this semester.

Last week, La Salle announced an indefinite suspension of all University-sponsored international travel. We will revisit this with an update April 1, as we continue to monitor developments locally and globally. Read previous University-wide messages and important CDC resources, which are available on our website.

Lastly, whether on campus or elsewhere, remember to treat everyone with respect and empathy. This global situation has been a great source of anxiety and unease. Let’s continue to support one another and pray for those most closely affected by this outbreak.

Thank you and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Lynne A. Texter, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dawn M. Soufleris, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

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