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Coronavirus Preparedness: Important message about campus activities

*Published March 9, 2020

This letter was published and shared on March 9, 2020. This is a rapidly changing situation and Salem State University is closely monitoring developments of the Coronavirus outbreak. Learn the latest updates.

Dear campus colleagues,

During the past several days, I’ve been updating you about how the university is preparing for a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This afternoon, Governor Baker held a press conference to share how the Commonwealth is responding. The focus of his remarks outlined efforts to prohibit the spread of this virus. Commissioner Santiago has directed state universities to follow the Governor’s directive.

Most importantly, the university remains open and classes are being held as scheduled until further notice.

What follows are highlights from his speech:

Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, the Governor declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth and announced some additional precautionary measures for Executive Branch agencies for the foreseeable future, effective March 11, 2020:

  • All work-related travel, both foreign and domestic, is to be discontinued until further notice. Staff with outstanding travel commitments or concerns about canceling scheduled travel should bring such concerns to the attention of their area head. We also strongly encourage that you avoid any personal international travel.
    • At Salem State, this ban on travel is extended to all university-sponsored student travel as well, including athletic and community service trips for the next 30 days.
    • Area vice presidents or campus leaders will be contacting trip organizers with further details.
  • Conferences, seminars and other discretionary gatherings, scheduled and hosted by Executive Branch agencies involving external parties, are to be held virtually or canceled. Regular internal business shall continue, including but not limited to mandated public and board meetings. Meeting organizers are encouraged to utilize alternatives like conference calls, WebEx and other group communication tools.
    • At Salem State, classes will be held as normal. This means other activities that have an expected attendance of 25 people or more scheduled during the next 30 days should be canceled or moved to a digital platform.
  • Additionally, employees should not attend external work-related conferences, seminars or events. Alternatively, employees are encouraged to participate remotely.
    • The university is abiding by this directive.
  • As previously communicated, employees feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms should not come into work. Information available to date regarding COVID-19 indicates that the highest risk population includes older adults and individuals with serious chronic medical conditions. Employees in this risk group are encouraged to talk with their supervisors to review possible alternative work assignments.
    • Any student who is feeling ill, should call counseling and health services to discuss and schedule an appointment at 978.542.6413.
    • Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician if they are unwell.

Each of the above measures will be revisited in 30 days or sooner as circumstances dictate.

The changing circumstances around COVID-19 are challenging to us all. We will follow Governor Baker’s instructions. We need all of our students, faculty and staff to be part of the solution in preventing the spread of this virus. Stay alert to important updates by checking your emails and visiting:

I’m sure this announcement will be a disappointment to many. However, I want to remind everyone that the health and safety of our campus community is our top priority. I agree with the Governor that at this time we need to be as proactive as possible in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19. I appreciate your support as we make these difficult decisions.

John D. Keenan

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