Local university preps for possibility of coronavirus

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — As concern over the spread of coronavirus grows in the US, universities are tasked with figuring out how to handle a possible case or outbreak.

In Boulder, the University of Colorado says campus health officials are communicating with the Boulder Co. Health Department at least once a week.

“Right now the focus is let’s review our plan and what we have in place,” CU spokesperson Melanie Marquez Parra said. “We have a lot of people who are looking at this and saying, let’s review our infectious disease plan… We have one as part of our emergency management plan. Let’s make sure it’s as up to date as we can be and what information do we need to add.”

In a statement to students, faculty and staff the Associate Vice Chancellor said, in part: “We work closely with Boulder County Public Health on all public health matters. Our university has specific plans to guide our response to infectious disease outbreaks. Plans include procedures to allow for continued operations in the event that any cases are confirmed locally. Additional guidelines are being developed for situations where remote work or teaching may become necessary.”

“We have different levels of what we can do, depending on the situation,” Marquez Parra said. “At all times our priority is going to be, can we people safe and continue operations as normal?”

The full associate vice chancellor statement can be found below:

Integrity, Safety and Compliance
Feb. 26, 2020
Dear CU Boulder Students, Faculty and Staff,

As the Associate Vice Chancellor of Integrity, Safety and Compliance, I oversee operations planning and management for various issues, including public health matters. In this capacity, I would like to share with you how the campus is closely monitoring international developments related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and collaborating with campus partners on ensuring a coordinated response to needs and questions as they arise.

We are monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association. Since the CDC released information yesterday indicating a high likelihood of clusters of outbreaks occurring in the United States, I would like you to know:

There are currently no confirmed cases in Colorado.
We work closely with Boulder County Public Health on all public health matters.
Our university has specific plans to guide our response to infectious disease outbreaks. Plans include procedures to allow for continued operations in the event that any cases are confirmed locally. Additional guidelines are being developed for situations where remote work or teaching may become necessary.
The colorado.edu/coronavirus webpage includes information relevant to the university community, such as updates from Health and Wellness, Education Abroad, and general travel impacts. The page includes a link for submitting questions related to COVID-19 and any impacts to the university.

Impacts to our university thus far have centered on students participating in Education Abroad programs in affected areas and on faculty, graduate students and other researchers who work or travel in affected areas. With guidance from the university’s International Risk Committee, we monitor travel advisories and make immediate decisions to support the health, safety and welfare of all our affiliates. Various offices on campus will continue to communicate directly with the people most impacted.

We appreciate your review of this information. Please continue to visit colorado.edu/coronavirus for updates. If further impacts to university operations develop, information will be posted online, shared in CU Boulder Today and communicated to you through additional emails.

Sincerely,

Dan Jones
Associate Vice Chancellor

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