ISU will be pursuing online classes in the light of the current Coronavirus threat. The university President, Deborah Curtis, has commented on the situation.
Curtis made the announcement on March 16, that classes will be taught completely online for the remainder of the semester. During this time, students have been encouraged to go to their permanent home addresses. Exceptions will be made for students who are unable to exit their residence hall by Saturday, March 21 at noon.
Along with staying home, there are other things students can do to protect themselves during this time. Nurse Practitioner on campus, Jaci Pabst gives background info on the Coronavirus.
“The Coronavirus is a virus that the other ones are concerned about because we don't have all the answers to it yet but it causes similar symptoms to the influenza that's been going around with the main symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, and the congestion,” said Pabst.
Because of not having enough information about the virus to create a vaccine, the most officials can do is promote hand washing and prevent the gathering of large crowds.
“The virus itself can be spread at least six feet away or somewhere closer, so that's a concern with big crowds and we're avoiding all of those at this time. There should be no touching of the face,” said Pabst, “That way we can prevent the spread and hope that the virus ends up dying off and we won't have very many cases. But with everybody going on spring break and not abiding by the whole airport safety concern, is why we keep seeing increased cases of the virus.”
There are many recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, Residential Life, and more. Indiana State has put all of these recommendations together on a page students and staff can view at: https://www.indstate.edu/covid-19.
“The main things that they're saying is that hand washing is the biggest thing right now and not touching your face. Since all the kids on campus go to the dining hall to eat and they're around other people so hand washing is a big thing,” said Pabst.
Currently, there have been no confirmed cases on ISU campus or Vigo County as a whole. With that said, testing is available if symptoms are present.
“If you think you have it, there are hospitals that are screening for it and will do the test on it for you while you're in there. We don't do the testing, but we can order the testing and then there's a number we call, and then go to Union and get it done,” said Pabst.
On campus, Residential Life has changed its housing contract to accommodate these recommendations.
Among these changes are: “No guests, only residents will be allowed in university owned and operated buildings during and through the online instruction period, inappropriate behavior in the residence halls may result in an immediate contract termination, if a student is determined to be infected or exposed to COVID-19 and prefers to move to their permanent address, they will not be permitted to return without a doctor’s clearance, dining hours may be limited and students who have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 must contact the Dean of Students Office.”
Along with these changes to the housing contract to protect students, Indiana State has also cancelled student events to prevent large groups of people in one area.
The university, per the coronavirus page, is not allowing sponsored air travel and strongly discourages such travel and travel to large events or conferences during this time.
“The message that we're trying to get out to everybody is that not to be extremely scared, but to do what you can as individuals. So, you need to not go on these trips to the airport, for right now you are supposed to be going home instead of staying on campus and things like that,” said Pabst.