Important coronavirus (COVID-19) updates – March 5, 2020
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community:
With spring break approaching, we write to share an important message to help ensure the well-being of our students, faculty and staff.
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, and in collaboration with the Saratoga County Public Health Department and the New York State Department of Health, we recommend that community members carefully monitor travel advisories from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before and during any planned travel for the upcoming spring break.
This is especially important because other countries and certain regions of the United States affected by COVID-19 could implement new travel restrictions at any time. Travel restrictions may be subject to change without notice and have the potential to interrupt or impede return travel.
At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at Skidmore College.
Community values and support
Skidmore is committed to maintaining an environment of respect and support for all members of our community affected by this situation.
We understand that this situation may be troubling to many in our community. If you are feeling anxious or worried because of the news about the COVID-19, we encourage you to use College resources. Students may contact the Counseling Center. Employees may make use of the Employee Assistance Program.
We encourage everyone to support each other, and play their part in fighting social stigma by understanding and communicating the facts about COVID-19.
If you are planning to travel during the spring break, we urge you to exercise caution and to keep the following points in mind:
Travel guidance and precautions
- The CDC continues to advise against all nonessential travel to countries currently classified at a Level 3 warning: China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.
- Older adults and individuals with chronic medical issues are discouraged from traveling to Japan, which currently has a Level 2 warning. Other travelers to Japan are urged to practice enhanced precautions.
- While Skidmore is not currently implementing a ban on institutional travel internationally
or domestically, we urge all travelers to take necessary safety precautions.
- If you are making new plans for institutional travel, domestic or international, please confer with your vice president or division head for approval prior to booking.
- Please consider traveling via airlines that allow refundable fares.
- If travel is institutionally sponsored yet canceled by an individual on their own, travel expenses will not be refunded by the College.
- Travelers should check relevant websites frequently and respond accordingly. Before and during travel, refer to the following websites for ongoing updates and precautions:
- Anyone planning to travel abroad during spring break should enroll in the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) program. International students should also consider enrolling in similar programs offered by their home country.
- Travel recommendations, screening procedures and restrictions about reentry into the U.S. may change rapidly. If you are planning to travel abroad, be prepared for potential delays when reentering the United States, and for the possibility of a quarantine at the border if you are returning from a country that has been identified with a high risk of COVID-19 by the CDC or the U.S. Department of State.
- Students living on campus who need to alter spring break travel plans because of these concerns can remain in campus housing during spring break, as long as they register with the Office of Residential Life.
Guidance for return travelers
- Consistent with U.S. Government recommendations, any Skidmore community member (students, faculty or staff) returning from mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or other CDC Level 3 Travel Warning location should self-isolate for 14 days after returning and must not return to Skidmore’s campus until that period is complete.
- Skidmore continues to follow all CDC, Department of State and Department of Health guidelines and continues to work closely with travel abroad host institutions to help students during this transition.
- As students return from study abroad programs, they are strongly encouraged to return to their home where they should self-isolate for 14 days after returning. Students must not return to Skidmore’s campus until that period is complete.
Human Resources guidelines
As a community, we have a shared interest in the health and safety of all of our community members including faculty, staff, students and visitors.
- Therefore, faculty and staff who plan to travel to a country or area that is designated as a CDC Level 3 warning location should notify the Office of Human Resources and their supervisor of their travel plans.
- Human Resources will work with supervisors to make appropriate telecommuting arrangements for employees in self-isolation, if possible.
- Consistent with College practice related to absences of similar duration, employees who utilize sick time for self-isolation may be required to present a return to work notice from a health care provider before returning to campus.
Any student with the following symptoms should seek screening at Health Services by calling 518-580-5550. Faculty and staff should call their primary care provider. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of germs that cause many different illnesses. We recommend these precautions:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and hot water. Hand-washing posters are located throughout campus.
- Wipe down frequently touched or shared surfaces (such as doorknobs, tables, counters, faucets, etc.) after each use with a disinfectant wipe.
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing using your sleeve (the crook of your elbow) or a tissue, not your hands.
- Avoid sharing food and drinks, cups, utensils, water bottles, etc.
- If you share living spaces, try to stay at least 6 feet away from others to prevent exposure.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are located throughout the campus. Put enough product on hands to cover all surfaces. Rub hands together until they feel dry. This should take about 20 seconds. Do not rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it is dry; it may not work as well against germs.
We will provide additional updates as they become available. Please continue to check the Skidmore COVID-19 webpage for links to resources and helpful information. For specific questions, please reach out to the appropriate campus contact listed online.
Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs