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Office of the President

February 26, 2020: Precautions regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)

To Members of the Stritch Community:

As we finish our work this week and prepare for some time away during spring break, it is important to update all of you regarding the most current information we have regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Though the greatest number of cases has occurred in Wuhan, China, other areas in Asia, Europe (e.g., Italy), and South America (e.g., Brazil), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that some states and cities (e.g., Madison, WI) in the United States have identified a limited number of cases, and predict that a further spread of the virus is inevitable. Our collective attention to the most recent information from the CDC regarding the spread of the virus and necessary preventive actions will be key in keeping all of us as informed and healthy as possible.

At this time, no one in the Stritch Community has been impacted by COVID-19, and we are sincerely hoping that neither you nor any member of your families will be affected. However, it is critical for all of us at this time to fully understand the (a) symptoms of this virus; (b) steps you can take to provide for your own wellness; and (c) steps the University is taking to monitor the virus, manage wellness on campus, and plan for the remainder of the academic year. 

How does COVID-19 spread? ​Not unlike the spread of influenza or other respiratory viruses, the COVID-19 spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets produced when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes.

Tips for Prevention: 

  • Eat healthy
  • Maintain good sleep habits
  • Manage stress
  • Wash your hands often – with soap and water – for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is unavailable
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill (e.g., within about 6 feet)
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then dispose of that tissue in the trash
  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces
  • If you are traveling across the country or out of the country during the next week, please use these tips for prevention as much as possible while in the airport, on a plane or other transportation, and at your destination. You know the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Regarding face masks: As a general precaution, if you have a face mask that you can access from your pocket or purse while traveling (e.g., airport, other sites), that may not be a bad idea, since you will be in close contact with hundreds of others who may not know they are ill, and you may not know they are ill. Again, “an ounce of prevention…”

Symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Fever Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If left untreated, the virus can result in pneumonia and, in severe cases, even death.

If you believe you have the symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Because we also are still in the flu season, it is important to see a health professional as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the symptoms identified above. That health professional will be able to diagnose whether you have the flu, COVID-19, or something else. DO NOT DIAGNOSE YOURSELF or THINK YOUR SYMPTOMS WILL SIMPLY GO AWAY. It is important to not only treat yourself well, but also to keep the wellness of others in mind.
  • Please know that there is no specific antiviral treatment currently recommended for COVID-19. Those who contract this virus should immediately contact healthcare providers regarding the nature of the care needed to help relieve the symptoms. For additional information regarding the virus, please go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
  • If you experience symptoms between now and March 8, please do not return to campus. Instead, make sure you have contacted and/or seen your own healthcare provider, who will advise you regarding the nature of your symptoms, required medication and/or care, and the time necessary to recover before returning to work or class.

Next Steps.

We will be keeping you updated regarding any additional news from the CDC or the Milwaukee Health Department regarding the status of the virus and/or any cases the Greater Milwaukee area. We also will update you regarding any additional precautionary measures to be taken on campus, any changes to class schedules and/or the management of academic and campus work during the balance of the semester. Please continue to look for email communications and updates on the Stritch website.

Thank you.

Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D.
President