Message from the President on COVID-19
Posted: March 11, 2020
COVID-19 is on everyone's mind and I want to take this moment to provide some updates on what we have been and are doing and to provide reassurance that Gannon University is taking all necessary steps and will remain open.
We are aware that other universities are taking steps to shift teaching to online delivery or to close altogether. Our judgment and plan for our campus and community is not to do this at the current time. Classes and events will continue as scheduled.
As we have for the past several weeks, we are following the guidance of the state health departments in Florida and Pennsylvania and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current recommendations from those agencies and from the Erie County Department of Health and the Hillsborough County Department of Health do not include closing campus or significant changes in operations.
We have and continue to take many steps to minimize risk to our entire Gannon family. When coronavirus began to spread across Italy, for instance, we called home our nine students studying there when the risk level rose to level 3 and placed them on a 14-day self-quarantine once they returned. We have had a task force of senior personnel from across campus meeting regularly to assess risks and to give guidance as the leadership team is making decisions to direct the university. We have stepped up efforts across campus to keep common areas cleaned and sanitized. And we continue to encourage everyone on campus to adopt healthy practices.
In addition, we have established a web page to share information to our Gannon community. You can see everything at www.gannon.edu/Emergency-Information/
Let me emphasize that we are closely and continuously monitoring this evolving situation and we will adjust appropriately as the situation changes.
For now, we are reassured that there is no reported or suspected case of coronavirus in Erie County or in western Pennsylvania - and are following the guidance of the professionals at the CDC and departments of health aligned with those realities. We are proceeding with care and with confidence that we will continue our mission of educating students in a safe and healthy environment.
Also, our athletic teams will continue their practice and game schedules in accordance with PSAC and NCAA guidelines and students involved in internships, clinical settings and other off-campus settings will follow the direction of those institutions.
Having said all of that, we ARE making adjustments in how we operate to ensure the safety of our Gannon community and continue to deliver quality education with the best interest of our students and employees in mind:
- We are strongly encouraging every member of our community follow the health and safety guidelines provided by the CDC. You can find them at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Any employee who may have a personal health concern related to their engagement on campus should feel free to discuss this with their supervisor.
- Students should continue to attend classes while sharing concerns and seeking advice from your course faculty as you see fit.
- We will be giving faculty the option to deliver their courses using alternative delivery methods following a process and approval system that will be communicated within academic affairs separately.
- Effective immediately, all professional travel for staff and faculty, requires the prior approval of a divisional vice president.
- At our Ruskin campus, we continue to monitor the progression of coronavirus in Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. So far, the county and state health departments have not suggested a change to operations.
- We continue to require that those who travel internationally for any reason from or through countries identified as level 3 by the CDC to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Where possible, we suggest you avoid face-to-face off-campus meetings if they can be executed using Skype, Zoom or some other electronic alternative.
As we move forward, we have established contingency plans for if, or when, coronavirus arrives in Erie County or on our campus. Then, as now, we will seek the guidance of the county and state Health Department and CDC in our decision making.
We want to reassure our students, staff and faculty that we are looking after their well-being. If anyone at any time has a concern, please reach out and speak up. Talk to your faculty member or supervisor. You can also submit concerns or questions to www.gannon.edu/Questions-or-Comments/
We want you to feel safe and - more importantly - to be safe.
That's why we believe in this moment, when there are no coronavirus cases in the region or on campus, that the most prudent decision and action for our community is to stay the course. I thank all of you for your commitment to working through this with good judgment and with care for one another. Reflecting a recent message of Pope Francis, may we encourage each other to live this challenging moment with the strength of faith, the certainty of hope and the fervor of love.