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COVID-19 Incident Response Team Update, March 8, 2020

COVID-19 Incident Response Team Update, March 8, 2020

Dear students, staff and faculty:

This weekend, the COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT) met with President McCartney to review local, national and international developments. These developments signal the increasing need for Smith to prepare for community spread of the COVID-19 disease.

As of today, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of the disease on our campus. It is our responsibility, however, to take informed, proactive steps to ensure the continued safety of our community.

The decisions outlined below were not easy ones to make, and Smith is not alone in taking preventative and proactive actions. We do so informed by public health guidance and in consultation with colleagues across higher education who are facing the same need to protect their communities in the face of COVID-19’s spread.

We recognize that these decisions will be disruptive to many aspects of campus life. We will continue to do our best to mitigate disruptions, focusing first on ensuring continuity of students’ academic experience.

International Travel Restriction

Effective immediately, and until May 1, no Smith-funded international travel will be permitted. The May 1 deadline may be extended if necessary.

Domestic travelers are encouraged to monitor and follow guidance from the CDC’s “Information for Travel” page. Non-essential, Smith-funded domestic travel is discouraged.

We ask all travelers to submit their itineraries to Smith's travel registry.

As a reminder, students may remain on campus for spring recess at no additional cost by registering on the residence life self-service webpage. Please note that the registration deadline has been extended to Wednesday, March 11.

Events

Effective immediately, and until May 1, the college will limit large gatherings by requiring that events with an expected attendance of 50 or higher be postponed, canceled or, if possible, moved to online delivery methods.

There are three exemptions to this policy:

The May 1 deadline may be extended if necessary.

Information Technology Services (ITS) will provide guidance late this week for event organizers regarding online delivery methods and support capacity. Note that we expect this support to be limited in order to enable ITS to prioritize delivery of academic courses, should that be required.

Academic Continuity

The Office of the Provost will meet this week with chairs and directors to plan for a scenario in which all courses would move to alternate modes of instruction should COVID-19 affect our on-campus community directly.

Business Continuity

The college is actively planning for remote work scenarios and expects to issue guidance mid-week. Employees with immediate questions or concerns should contact covid19info@smith.edu.

Individuals at High Risk

The CDC has issued guidance for individuals considered at-risk for serious illness from COVID-19. We know that members of our community fall into some of these categories. Should you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your primary healthcare provider for guidance on how the college can help protect your wellbeing.

We appreciate your continued understanding as we respond to this rapidly evolving challenge.

David DeSwert
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Chair, COVID-19 Incident Response Team (CIRT)