MARCH 11, 2020 - INITIAL RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As a member of our residential community, I know you may have concerns about the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Living in community means that you are often in closer contact than you would be normally. And so, along with the regular campus communications, we want to provide you with residence hall-specific information.
FIRST, WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS? WHAT IS COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect humans and/or animals and cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to pneumonia and bronchitis. The coronavirus causing the current outbreak is a new virus that was not previously identified.
The newly identified virus causes a disease called ‘coronavirus disease 2019,' abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms range from mild to severe and appear within two to 14 days after being infected with the virus.
The first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Multnomah County was announced yesterday. Health officials continue to urge everyone to take steps to protect those who are at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus — older adults and anyone with a serious health condition or compromised immune system.
We are asking everyone in the campus community to take steps to protect themselves and others by washing hands often, safely covering coughs and sneezes, and staying in your room if you feel sick. Health officials recommend practicing social distancing whenever possible, which means keeping at least six feet between yourself and others in all public spaces, avoiding handshakes and hugging, and limiting in-person meetings when possible.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL SYMPTOMS
COVID-19 is not the common cold. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed or are showing symptoms of coronavirus, call the SHAC Nurse Line with coronavirus related questions or concerns at 503.725.2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844.224.3145.
If you are tested and do find that you have COVID-19, we would urge you to try to go home to quarantine/isolate yourself there.
For residents who are absolutely unable to go home, we will move you to our quarantine/isolation location and you will remain in that room until your symptoms pass. You will not be able to leave your room and you can have no visitors except for anyone providing your care, food, or other supplies. SHAC will provide ongoing care to the quarantined or isolated student and consultation regarding length of quarantine.
We will provide delivered food, linens, and trash service for those who have to be moved and quarantined/isolated.
Again, it would be most likely more beneficial for you to go home if this situation arises. But if you can’t, we are committed to taking care of you in the hall while protecting those around you.
WHAT IF MY ROOMMATE SEEMS TO HAVE SYMPTOMS
If you are healthy but your roommate seems to be exhibiting symptoms, please also call the SHAC Nurse Line with coronavirus related questions or concerns at 503.725.2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844.224.3145. They will be able to advise you on what you can do to best protect yourself from any viruses. You can also connect with your hall staff.
If your roommate does have COVID-19, they will be moved to a room to be quarantined/isolated. You will either stay in your own room or be moved so you can quarantine yourself for a certain number of days to be sure you don’t also exhibit symptoms. If necessary, you would receive the same kind of support that would allow you to not leave your room.
WHAT IF A RESIDENT ON MY FLOOR HAS COVID-19 AND IS QUARANTINED/ISOLATED?
The Oregon Health Authority advised us that there is no risk to individuals on the same floor as a quarantined/isolated person. The quarantined/isolated person is in a self-contained room with bathroom and kitchen and will not come out of the room until symptoms pass.
HALL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
In keeping with PSU’s guidance, and as a way to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus we urge the campus community to keep in-person gatherings to a minimum whenever possible. We take this guidance seriously and have cancelled upcoming hall programs until public health recommendations change.
Victors Dining Room is open. PSU Eats has exceeded standard food hygiene rules and implemented additional precautions by changing out serving utensils on a more frequent basis. In addition, Victor’s Dining Room will go to “full service” starting March 12th. This means that all food you would normally serve yourself will be served to you by a PSU Eats employee. We still want you to know that the most important thing you can do is practice good personal hygiene and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.
It’s more important than ever that PSU come together as a united campus community and stand against discriminatory behavior. National origin has no bearing on how likely someone is to contract the coronavirus. If you witness or experience a bias incident or discrimination, contact Global Diversity and Inclusion.
You can make a big impact on protecting yourself and others from spreading COVID-19 through personal actions such as hand washing, social distancing, staying in your room if you feel ill, and contacting the Center for Student Health and Counseling if you feel symptoms.
If you have any questions or need any help, please connect with your hall staff member or visit PSU’s Coronavirus Response website for the latest updates. I would also encourage you to share this information with your family or persons who typically support you.
All my best,
Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life