Health Alerts | Albright College

Health Alerts

Dear Albright Students. Happy Spirit Day!

I’m sure that this version of Spirit Day wasn’t what you had ever imagined, adhering to social-distancing protocols whether on-campus or at home! I hope that in any location you can still feel the Albright spirit and support of your Albright family as we work our way through this challenging semester. Most importantly, I hope that you are feeling safe, and that your family is also safe and secure.

I know that this switch to learning online is challenging, both academically and because of the distance that it places between students and professors and advisors and friends.  Even though we have so many ways of keeping in touch virtually (I learned about NetFlix parties just yesterday!), it’s not exactly what we signed up for in coming to Albright as either a student or a professor.  It was my experience with the students during my interview at Albright that brought me here, because those interactions set Albright apart from all the other schools that I had visited!  Walking around campus is beautiful, as Dr. Pankratz captured in his photos today, but I will admit that I cried a little bit when I was on campus for some work today.  It’s pretty lonely without all of you here!

I hope you are adjusting to learning online, and I’d really like to know how that is going and how we all might help make it better.  The faculty are also adjusting to a teaching format for which they had  not prepared.  We all came to Albright for the opportunity to interact with students face-to-face, to hear your stories, to get to know you, and to help you find success in our classes.  Doing this virtually is a huge challenge.  We’re just glad that we had at least half the semester to start to form that relationship with you!  Please let us know how we can help to improve your experiences in our courses by giving us some feedback through this survey.  We still have time to make adjustments, but we need to know what is working and what doesn’t work for you in order to make those adjustments meaningful.  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about your courses and what you find to be helpful and what you still need to help you find academic success.

We are still “here” for you, in many ways.  Online tutoring is available and the writing center services are available to all students.  If you are experiencing the stress of handling class work, “family life”, and juggling other challenges imposed by this pandemic, please reach out to our counseling center.  And please try to be patient with our faculty.  Remember that they share the same concerns that you have for their family members and their own personal health at this time.  Don’t be afraid to just send an email, asking for help if something seems confusing in what they have posted for your class.  They are trying to help you complete your courses to the best of your (and their) ability … we just need to work through this together. Let that Albright spirit of caring and compassion rise to the surface!

Please let me know if I can help in any way, first by completing the survey, but also just by reaching out.  I really do miss you all, and I’m happy to help!

Go Lions!

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Faculty
P. Kenneth Nase Chair of Biology

Dear Albrightians,

We have made it through our first week of online classes and our first full week of working remotely – and we made it together! This is not an easy time for any of us and there are many hard decisions that are being made every day as this pandemic continues to evolve. We write today to share decisions that, though likely not unexpected, are still very difficult to accept because we are a community that values our time together on campus.

As we’ve communicated previously, the college’s Pandemic Planning Task Force has been carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, and from Pennsylvania State health officials. Given the current situation, and based on the recommendation of the Pandemic Planning Task Force, the decision has been made to continue to deliver classes online throughout the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

The team did not come to this decision lightly. Taking into account CDC and state recommendations, as well as current coronavirus trends across the country and the globe, it is clear that asking students to return to campus before the end of the semester from areas that have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus – including surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey – would put many people at risk.

We also wanted to remove some of the uncertainty for students and faculty, who can now finalize and move forward with their plans and coursework over the remainder of the semester.

What about commencement?

In addition, and given the ongoing pandemic and its evolution, the commencement team has made their recommendation, which we have accepted. It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Albright’s class of 2020 commencement ceremony will not be held on May 17.

Although we all hope to be back to normal as soon as possible, it is important at this time that we consider the safety, planning and travel needs of Albright’s graduates and families, and to keep with Governor Tom Wolf’s directives for social distancing and closure of physical locations around the state of Pennsylvania, such as Santander Arena.

Do not worry – even without the pomp and circumstance of commencement, you still are a graduate of Albright College. Commencement is truly “ceremonial” and does not affect the college’s ability to confer degrees. Diplomas will be mailed to class of 2020 graduates as soon as they are available.

We recognize the fact that our seniors have worked hard and deserve to celebrate their achievements among family and friends. And, we wish to celebrate with you all!  Therefore, the college’s Commencement Committee, consisting of faculty, students and staff, is carefully considering a range of later dates for in-person celebrations – as well as a number of creative ways to celebrate student accomplishments virtually. Finalized plans will be announced with enough notice for graduates and their families to participate, if they wish to do so.

Students with innovative ideas or suggestions of dates on which to honor the class of 2020 are encouraged to contact Kathy L. Cafoncelli ’99, chair of the Commencement Committee, at kcafoncelli@albright.edu, and/or Commencement Committee student representatives, Faith Guzzo ’20 and Allison Ulaky ’20, at faith.guzzo001@albright.edu or allison.ulaky001@albright.edu, respectively.

Will I get a refund for room and board? How can I get the things in my room?

The decision to remain online, of course, leads to the question that many of you have already asked, “Will there be refunds for room and board?” We are currently evaluating how best to handle refunds, and because some students left campus before others, we are assessing how to make it fair to all parties. We will be communicating with students and families soon on how we plan to move forward. Additionally, we know that many are concerned about being able to gather belongings from the residence halls. Though we are abiding by the governor’s current orders, we will continue to assess the coronavirus situation and when it has been determined that it is safe for students to return to campus, we will make arrangements for students to return to their rooms to collect their things. In the meantime, know that your belongings are safely locked in your rooms and are not being disturbed.

We know that this news is disappointing. We are a community that values our time together and celebrating one another’s accomplishments. Please know that although our interactions are taking on a different form right now, we continue to celebrate our special community of Albrightians.

Please take time to care for yourself and celebrate every accomplishment. Speak on the phone and video chat with friends and family, post your positive moments on social media and tag Albright College, and look forward to better times ahead when we can all be together again.

With best wishes for a successful (online) semester,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82

President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

Here we are, at the third day of virtual classes, almost one week since the Pennsylvania governor declared all non-life-sustaining business to close operations. Since then, I’ve watched faculty come together to support virtual teaching, student groups self-organize into study and “keeping in touch” groups, staff develop approaches to work from home, and trustees engage in our call to reach out to senators to support higher education in the COVID-19 bill that the US Senate passed last night.

What I’ve learned is that, like the strong community we are, we are coming together to meet this challenge. And, even though we miss the face-to-face interactions, I know we will come out on the other side a stronger community than when we started.

In this past week, I’ve realized even more how valuable our community is, one of which I am so grateful to be a part. I’d like to invite each one of you to reflect and think about how valuable our Albright community is.

To Albright Students: Give your professors positive feedback – let them know what works. Your professors love teaching you in the classroom! For many of them, this is their first foray into online teaching – and it’s not the way they want to teach. Teaching virtually is rarely perfect – from crashing videos, to sound not working, to pixelated screens – laugh with them, and thank them for their effort to help you continue your education.

To Albright Faculty: Some of your students are learning online for the first time – this is not what they came to Albright for either! For many, virtual learning may be much less compatible with the way they learn. Give them positive feedback for engaging online. Share with them things that you have learned that help other students.

To Albright Staff: Working from home is not easy – many of you have children, partners and pets who are also at home and you’re balancing your workload while making sure your children engage in their own online learning. Remember to breathe. Take the dog for a walk. Stay in daily contact with your teams and managers. Use technology to connect virtually and keep those “water cooler” conversations going.

To Essential Personnel: Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is not an easy time for anyone, and you are in jobs that require your continued service to and support of our students who are still in residence. Your dedication and commitment to our community is commendable. I invite everyone in our community to reach out to Albright’s essential personnel – in residence life, public safety, the Gable Health Center, the cafeteria, and those in facilities maintenance and custodial services – and thank them. Remember that not all heroes wear capes.

Everyone, please be diligent in observing the CDC’s recommendations and in keeping yourselves and your families healthy and well.

In the last several weeks, each of our lives have been upended – we’ve had disruptions to our classes, our work, and our learning. It seems like the continuous news cycle brings ever worsening news, heightening our anxieties and fears. We are currently living through a time much like the Great Depression and World War II – a crisis that will in many ways define a “before” and an “after.”  Keep a journal of your time, your learning, your feelings, and your impressions – like the pandemic of 1918, this will be a time to be remembered in history.

As Albrightians – a pride of Lions – it is important to remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together and we will get through it together. Face-to-face interactions and a strong community are what we value at Albright College. As the pandemic prevents us from that experience, it becomes ever more important to build that community virtually. I will continue to be in contact with you during this time as will other community members, to inform you of operational details and to share words of encouragement – we could all use some words of encouragement as we navigate this situation together.

While we are living through circumstances unlike anything seen in generations, this too shall pass, and we will take from our experiences the strength we will use to heal our college, our society and our world. Continue your good and important work and learning – it matters.

Stay safe, healthy and well, and know that Albright College is there for you. I look forward to our return to campus and to our daily in-person interactions when this pandemic wanes.

Warm regards,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ‘82

President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dear Albright students and families –

I wanted to clarify some important information from last evening’s message regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement to close the physical locations of all non-life-sustaining businesses by tomorrow, Saturday, March 21.

If you did not elect to remain on campus during Spring Break and you are currently at your home residence, you are not to come back to campus to gather your things at this time. Commuter students are also not allowed to come to campus. The governor’s order restricts you from doing so. Only those students who chose to remain on campus during Spring Break must now vacate their residence halls or petition to stay on campus. Albright College is moving into the mode of “community food and housing, emergency, and other relief services,” which counts as an essential business. This allows Albright College the ability to keep residence halls open for those students who are unable to go home, feel unsafe going home, have no home to go to, or those who have food or shelter insecurities.

Students who are approved to remain on campus will not be allowed to leave campus and will be held accountable to Community Standards if they do. And the dining hall will remain open for carry-out of three meals a day regardless of how many meals a student has signed up for. Carry-out meals will begin with dinner on Saturday evening.

I know this is a confusing time and that it is imposing fear and anxiety on many. Please understand that we don’t have all of the answers right now and are continually monitoring this situation as it unfolds. If we remain in an online learning environment for the remainder of the semester, arrangements will be made to have all students return to campus to clear out their rooms at a later date. We will keep you informed as we know more.

In the meantime, I wish you health, wellness, and the best of luck as you begin your online learning experiences.

If you have any questions, please send them to studentlife-reply@albright.edu.

My best to you,

Dr. Wesner

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer
O: 610-921-7611 | F: 610-921-7590
swesner@albright.edu

Dear Albright students and families –

This has been a trying time for all of us as we adapt to the changes that the unprecedented public health situation of the novel coronavirus has presented. This evening, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close physical locations until further notice, effective Saturday, March 21, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Higher education was specifically listed as a non-essential business in the list of businesses.

What does this means for Albright College?

Albright College is moving into the mode of “community food and housing, emergency, and other relief services,” which counts as an essential business. Online classes and telework for those who are able to work from home will continue as planned. Online classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23.

What does this mean for students who are currently on campus?

As of noon on Saturday, residence halls will remain open only to those students who are unable to go home, feel unsafe going home, have no home to go to, or those who have food or shelter insecurities. Students who are currently on campus may petition to stay on campus by completing the “COVID-19 Petition for Residency” form on the MyHousing student portal: https://housing.albright.edu. This petition must be complete by 3 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Late submissions will not be considered and all submissions are subject to approval.

Students who are approved to remain on campus will not be allowed to leave campus and will be held accountable to Community Standards if they do. And the dining hall will remain open for carry-out of three meals a day regardless of how many meals a student has signed up for. Carry-out meals will begin with dinner on Saturday evening.

Students who are not approved to remain on campus will need to vacate residential space by no later than noon on Saturday, March 21. Students vacating residence halls are encouraged to make arrangements to leave campus immediately to comply with the directives of Governor Wolf, and to move out as many items as possible. Following departure from residence halls, students must complete the “Residence Hall Departure Form” on the MyHousing student portal: https://housing.albright.edu.

Residential Life staff will be available tomorrow, Friday, March 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer any questions you may have and to provide assistance. Please email reslife@albright.edu or call 610-921-7641.

What does this mean for our community?

This was not an easy message to either compose or send, and I know that it is not an easy message to hear.  This new government order will likely evoke even more fear and anxiety.  But, know that we are a stronger community standing together than we are apart — we are a pride of lions, even if we must be so from distant locations for a while.

We are urging Albrightians to continue taking all precautions recommended by the CDC. Keep a six-foot distance between yourself and other people; avoid contact with those who are sick; wash your hands often for 20 seconds, using soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes; and clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces on a daily basis.

As this situation continues to evolve, President Fetrow, my Cabinet colleagues and I are working through the many questions that have already been presented and doing all we can to continue to support the success of our students while addressing the health and safety needs of our community. If you have questions, please send them to studentlife-reply@albright.edu.

My thoughts are with each of you as well as your families as we continue to navigate this unprecedented and emergent situation together. Be safe. Be well. Take care of each other. When this is over, we will emerge a strong community.

Warm regards,

Dr. Wesner

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer
O: 610-921-7611 | F: 610-921-7590
swesner@albright.edu

Dear Albright students, parents and families,

The Coronavirus and COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that the Coronavirus is officially a pandemic. Today, Governor Wolf held a press conference announcing that the state ordered the closure of all pre-kindergarten through graduate-level schools in Montgomery County (Pa.) for the next two weeks. The presidents of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) made a decision that no athletic competitions would be held for the next two weeks, effective Monday, March 16. And cases of confirmed COVID-19 have reached more than 1,300 in the U.S., and eight counties in Pennsylvania have been impacted.

We are continually monitoring this situation and we are very aware that many of our students may be unable to successfully continue in their coursework from home, while others do not have homes to which they can return. Yet, the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty are our highest priority.

Therefore, Albright is creating options to fit our varied student population’s need. Beginning on March 23, all Albright classes will be instructed online. However, we encourage students to stay on campus — especially those who do not have reliable internet access, those whose home environments may not be conducive to online study, and those who are unable to go home.

Students who remain on-campus during Spring Break must complete the Spring Break Stay Form no later than noon on Friday, March 13. Please login to aLink to complete this form. Fees associated with break stays will not apply for this break period and meal plans will be active. Grab-and-go bags will be available for students who stay on campus but do not wish to eat meals in the Dining Hall.

Students who decide to leave campus over Spring Break must take everything they need to continue their studies online, including but not limited to laptops and related technology, and all course materials. Students who decide to leave campus over Spring Break will not be allowed to return to campus following break and will be expected to continue studies online until the college reevaluates the situation. At this time, the earliest students would be allowed to return to campus is Sunday, April 5. This includes residents of Rockland Hall and affinity housing as well.

What about School of Professional Studies (SPS) students?

Because SPS students do not live on campus and are working in classes under different conditions, specific arrangements are being made on a class-by-class basis.

The Pandemic Planning Task Force will continue to monitor this evolving situation and we will be communicating with you on a regular basis. Please visit Albright.edu/coronavirus for more information, or to review all college updates and policies pertaining to Coronavirus.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright community,

The Albright College Pandemic Planning Task Force has been meeting regularly and is continually monitoring the spread of novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 in order to develop short- and long-term contingency plans. With Spring Break just around the corner, and with an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of our community, Alternative Spring Break trips, athletic team trips to Florida and South Carolina, and a faculty-led trip to Madrid during Spring Break have been cancelled. As this situation continues to evolve, decisions regarding other events and activities both on- and off-campus are being discussed and will be communicated.

Travel Guidelines

Please note that all college-related domestic or international travel must be requested and approved by the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. If you already have travel plans in place you must complete the form so that we are aware of your travel plans. Additionally, in order to ensure the health and safety of our community, we also strongly encourage you to register your personal travel with the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. The coronavirus and information pertaining to travel are constantly evolving. We strongly encourage any individual traveling to personally review the current CDC recommendations and plan accordingly.

Spend Spring Break on Campus

Students, were your travel plans for Spring Break cancelled? Is your home state currently under a state of emergency? Although this Coronavirus is very new, it is not the first novel virus Albright has faced. In addition to staffing its own physician on campus, the college has been working closely with national and local health care experts and is well-prepared to quarantine or isolate students, if necessary. Plan to stay on campus during Spring Break and help us lower the risk of spread.

Students who remain on-campus during Spring Break must complete the Spring Break Stay Form no later than noon on Friday, March 13. Please login to aLink to complete this form. Fees associated with break stays will not apply for this break period and meal plans will be active. We ask that students remaining on-campus avoid traveling to high-risk areas.

Be Prepared

As Spring Break approaches, and given this dynamic situation, please be prepared for disruptions in services that we usually take for granted. For example, keep academic supplies (laptops, books, etc.) with you, even during overnight travel. Think about what you would need if you were notified that you were exposed to COVID-19 and your ability to travel, on or off campus, became restricted.

Stay Up to Date

Please be sure to visit the Albright website for the most current and reliable information from the college, and we will continue to update the community via email as well. On the web, you will find the college’s travel policies, forms to register your upcoming travel plans, FAQs, community messages and links to health resources.

Please take care of yourselves, stay healthy and be well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright,
COVID-19 news continues to break rapidly. Albright staff and administration continue to adjust our responses to the evolving outbreak.
As  we approach spring break, I wanted to remind students and staff to be prepared for disruptions in services we usually take for granted.  Please remember to keep academic supplies (for example: lap-tops and books) with you, even during overnight travel.  We all need to be prepared.  Think about what you would need if you were notified that you were exposed to COVID-19 and your ability to travel, on and off campus, became restricted.  
We are already screening patients for recent travel prior to appointments at the Gable Health Center.  We will REQUIRE phone appointments (instead of accommodating walk-in appointments) from this point forward to facilitate social distancing from ill students.
From the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

PA COVID-19 Update – March 10, 2020

Last updated 9:45 a.m.

  • To date, there are 11 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
  • Counties impacted to date include:
    • Delaware (1)
    • Monroe (1)
    • Montgomery (8)
    • Wayne (1)

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

Prevention:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community).  Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet).

Yours,

Dr Williamson

College Physician, Albright College

Dear Albright Community,

Coronavirus, or more specifically, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), continues to be an evolving situation, and we want to keep you informed about initiatives to prepare for and respond to this issue. The Albright College Pandemic Planning Task Force has been meeting regularly and is continually monitoring the situation in order to develop short- and long-term contingency plans.

With spring break just around the corner, below is important information about travel notices from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Albright College travel policiesPlease note, though this email is lengthy, it is important that you read it in its entirety.

Though the number of coronavirus and COVID-19 cases is changing rapidly, as of March 9, more than 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been identified in the United States. It is important to note that there have been no reported or suspected cases at Albright College or in the Reading community.

To date, the work of the Pandemic Planning Task Force remains primarily preventative in nature to maintain the health and safety of our campus community. Given this dynamic situation, please be sure to visit the Albright website for the most current and reliable information from the college, and we will update the community via email as well.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Notices

According to the CDC, travel notices “inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in specific international destinations.”

As of March 8, 2020, the notices are as follows:

Warning Level 3 (Red): Avoid all non-essential travel to the following destinations. The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk.

              Italy – COVID-19

              Iran – COVID-19

              South Korea – COVID-19

              China – COVID-19

              Venezuela – Health Infrastructure Breakdown

Alert Level 2 (Yellow): Practice enhanced precautions for this destination. The travel health notice describes additional precautions added, or defines a specific at-risk population.

              Japan – COVID-19

Watch Level 1 (Green): Practice usual precautions for this destination, as described in the travel health notice and/or on the destination page. This includes being up-to-date on all recommended vaccines and practicing appropriate mosquito avoidance.

              Hong Kong – Coronavirus

 

Albright College Travel Policies

In addition, following guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, Albright College has developed policies applicable to all members of the campus community. These policies are similar to those implemented at colleges and universities across the country.

If you are planning travel during spring break, please keep these policies in mind:

General Policy

Any person who has traveled to or through a country with a Level 3 travel warning must notify the college and remain away from campus for 14 days from the date of departure from the affected area. During this time, you should monitor your health and maintain a daily log, twice daily recording your temperature and presence or absence of cough and shortness of breath. Following this 14-day period, students and employees should contact the Gable Health Center to schedule a phone appointment to review this information and determine your eligibility to return to campus. If you experience symptoms during the 14 days, you will need medical documentation clearing you to return to campus.  Any other visitors and/or guests who plan to visit campus are asked to follow the same self-monitoring guidelines if they suspect they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Travel Policy

The coronavirus and information pertaining to travel are constantly evolving. We strongly encourage any individual traveling to personally review the current CDC recommendations and plan accordingly. Please be aware that some national conferences such as the Eastern Psychological Association and American Chemical Society have already cancelled their conferences, and we expect that others may do so as well. Plans for Albright College-sponsored travel are evolving as well. We will keep you informed of any changes as they occur.

1.    Level 3 International Travel: All college-sponsored travel to any Warning Level 3 country is prohibited for the immediate future as we continue to monitor the situation and the progress of the outbreak.

Currently, college-sponsored study abroad programs (short and long term) remain scheduled for summer and fall 2020. These programs will be reviewed on an individual basis by the ELCDC and the Gable Health and Counseling Center.

2.    All other college-related international travel: All future college-related international travel must be requested and approved by the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. If you already have travel plans in place you must complete the form so that we are aware of your travel plans.

3.    College-related domestic travel: All college-related domestic travel must be registered with the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. If you already have travel plans in place you must complete the form so that we are aware of your travel plans.

4.    Personal international or domestic travel: Any person with plans to travel to or through a Level 3 travel warning country must adhere to the college’s general policies outlined above. For all other personal international travel, the college strongly encourages you to register your personal travel with the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students.

If you are returning to campus after having visited (for personal or college-related travel) an area in or outside of the United States in which a confirmed case of COVID-19 has occurred or where you have had potential exposure, please contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center. Depending on the CDC, PA Department of Health and other guidance for colleges and universities, you may be required to self-monitor away from campus for 14 days in accordance with the college’s general policies.

The health and safety of all members of our campus community is our top priority. We continue to monitor this evolving situation and will keep you informed of any changes as they become available.

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

 

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Albright continues to be very proactive about the novel coronavirus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) by the World Health Organization (WHO).The Albright College pandemic planning committee continues to stay informed of the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health updates. We are establishing protocols for any potentially affected areas on campus, in the event COVID-19 begins to spread in communities in the U.S.

The U.S. confirmed case count has risen to 53 cases. Six of these are considered to be “recovered.” There have been no deaths in the U.S. There was a big jump in total case count over the weekend because 36 American patients from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship finished their 14 days of quarantine on the ship (while docked in Japan) and are now under quarantine in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the U.S. government has taken unprecedented steps related to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus, including suspending entry into the U.S. of foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. Other measures have also been implemented to monitor the health of American citizens who have recently been in China and are allowed entry into the U.S.

Today, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering and WHO:

  • Globally: 81,244 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 30,311 recovered; 2,770 deaths
  • Outside of China: 2,459 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 34 deaths

For perspective; the CDC estimates seasonal influenza in the U.S. alone tallied at least 29 million flu illnesses; 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths so far this season.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a case series from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 11, with data the 72,314 Chinese COVID-19 cases:

  • Patient age distribution: ≥80 years: 3%, 30-79 years: 87%, 20-29 years: 8%, 10-19 years: 1%, <10 years: 1%. Spectrum of disease: Mild: 81%, Severe: 14%, Critical: 5%

These numbers indicate that risk to our Albright student population is extremely low, even if exposure occurs.

Nancy Messonnier MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said using the existing [U.S. influenza] surveillance system is an efficient way to watch for more person-to-person spread of COVID-19. If specimens at those labs test negative for flu, they would be tested for the COVID-19.

Given that COVID-19 is a new disease, it is understandable that its emergence and spread cause confusion, anxiety and fear among the general public. These factors can give rise to harmful stereotypes, and discrimination. This kind of stigma can:

  • Drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination
  • Prevent people from seeking health care immediately
  • Discourage people from adopting healthy behaviors

Such barriers could potentially contribute to more severe health problems, ongoing transmission and difficulties controlling infectious diseases during an infectious disease outbreak.

“Because 98% of people who get [COVID-19] are recovering, this is not an extinction-level event or the zombie apocalypse,” said Kevin T Powell, MD, Ph.D. “It is a major health hazard, and one where morbidity and mortality might be assuaged by an early and effective public health response, including the population’s adoption of good habits such as hand washing, cough etiquette and staying home when ill. But fear, discrimination and misinformation may do more damage than the virus itself.”

According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the epidemic peaked and plateaued in China between Jan 23 and February 2, and has been declining steadily since.

WHO findings:

  • There has been no significant change in the DNA of the virus.
  • Fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan, and 0.7% outside Wuhan.
  • For people with mild disease, recovery time is about two weeks.

The team also estimates that the measures taken in China have averted a significant number of cases, and emphasize that the virus can be contained. However, sudden increases of cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea are deeply concerning.

“Our decision about whether to use the word ‘pandemic’ to describe an epidemic is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes and the impact it has on the whole of society,” Dr. Tedros explained. “For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death.”

Please call the Gable Health Center at (610)-921-7532 with any questions or concerns you may have on this or any other health related issue.

Dear Albright College parents and families,

As you may know, there is growing concern among international public health officials regarding the Wuhan, China coronavirus. Earlier this week, the first person-to-person transmission in the U.S. occurred, when a wife returning to Chicago from Wuhan transmitted the virus to her husband.

The CDC recommends that patients in the U.S. who meet the following criteria should be evaluated:

  1. Fever accompanied by symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath)

AND travel from Wuhan, China (in the last 14 days) or close contact with a person who is already under investigation or confirmed for coronavirus infection.

Although Albright is home to a number of international students, none are native to Wuhan, and no Albright students are currently studying abroad in China.

Nonetheless, Albright’s pandemic planning committee has been carefully monitoring the virus and is taking proactive action. Our facilities professionals are using CDC-approved cleaning chemicals and our Gable Health Center is prepped and ready to implement the CDC and PA State Department of Health triage and testing protocols. We are also reminding students to wash their hands whenever possible, and of course, hand sanitizers are available throughout campus.

According to experts, this new coronavirus appears to be much less deadly than the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus of 2012-2014 (which ultimately resulted in only two U.S. cases).

But seasonal influenza is always a concern. With that in mind, please help us to remind students to:

  1. Cover mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  2. Wash hands frequently
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  4. Do not share eating and drinking utensils
  5. Do not share saliva
  6. Be sure to get adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise

Have questions? Please call Albright College’s Gable Health Center, counseling center or nutritionist at (610)921-7532.

As you may know, there is growing concern among international public health officials regarding the current Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Please be assured that federal, state and local authorities are working very diligently to avoid the spread of infection in the United States.As of yesterday the first case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. occurred (from a woman who returned from Wuhan to her husband in Chicago).

Earlier this week the CDC reported:

  • 2, 886 WORLDWIDE cases of 2019-nCoV
  • 81 worldwide deaths
  • 5 cases in the US, and 110 US persons under investigation (see additional information below)

For perspective; seasonal influenza tallied at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths so far this season.

According to experts, this novel coronavirus appears to be much less deadly than the MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) of 2012-2014, which never spread significantly (2 cases) to the United States.

Albright has a history of being very proactive in these situations. The college established a pandemic planning committee in response to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) of 2003-2005. This committee made sure Albright was prepared for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

We have been monitoring the home cities of our students; none currently live in Wuhan. Also, we do not currently have any students studying abroad in China.

The Albright College pandemic planning committee will continue to stay informed of the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health updates on this virus.

Of course, please call the Gable Health Center at (610)-921-7532 for any questions or concerns you may have on this or any other health related issue.

According to the CDC: Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV

Patients in the United States who meet the following criteria should be evaluated as a PUI in association with the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan City, China.

  1. Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

–AND in the last 14 days before symptom onset,

  • History of travel from Wuhan City, China

-or-

  • Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCOV while that person was ill.
  1. Fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

–AND in the last 14 days before symptom onset,

  • Close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient.

Dear Students,

Welcome back to campus, hopefully well rested and ready for your next step here at Albright.

Just a quick reminder for those of you who have not had the flu shot this year:

We continue to be in peak flu season (which typically lasts through March most years). The cost for the vaccine is $20 for Albright students. Please call the health center at (610) 921-7532 to schedule an vaccine appointment.

According to the CDC:

  • Over 50% of influenza positive test results from public health laboratories this season are in children and young adults (<25 years), while only 12% are in adults aged 65 and older. This has resulted in high levels of outpatient illness, but lower levels of hospitalization and death due to influenza.
  • 15 additional pediatric deaths were reported this week, bringing the total for the season to 54. Influenza B viruses account for 37 of the 54 reported flu-related pediatric deaths this season.
  • The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths from flu.

Yours,
Dr. Joshua Williamson
Albright College Physician, Gable Health Center

 

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Contact

Albright College Gable Health Center
1829 Linden Street
Reading, PA 19612-5234
Phone: (610) 921-7532

Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Should an emergency arise after business hours or on weekends please call Public Safety at 311.