Update from the President — March 17, 2020
Dear Mac Family,
While I am pleased to report there are no active cases of COVID-19 within our college community, the "normal" life we enjoyed only a week or so ago has changed dramatically in ways that affect all of us. Local, state and federal officials have moved quickly to mitigate the overall risk of transmission and to "flatten the curve" of anticipated patients into our healthcare system, which is prudent.
We're doing our part at MacMurray, too, starting with last week's decision to extend spring break until March 23. After consultations with various groups on campus today, I am writing to share MacMurray's plans for the remainder of spring semester 2020.
- All in-person, face-to-face classes are suspended for the rest of the spring semester and will resume online — to be taught remotely — beginning March 23.
- Current online classes will continue as planned.
- Faculty will contact students directly with information about their individual classes. If you do not have access to appropriate computing resources, please contact the IT department for possible accommodations.
- Students who remained on campus through the break are encouraged to go home but may stay if they are working or have other commitments. On-campus students will take classes remotely along with those off campus.
- We will work to accommodate students with exceptional circumstances, and ask our athletes, student employees, and others, to contact the office of Student Life at 217-479-7123.
- All other students needing to come back to campus to pick up their belongings should contact Student Life to schedule a move-out day and time.
- The MacMurray campus will remain open to faculty and staff, although many will be working remotely, and most campus buildings will be locked.
- Most events will be canceled, although no decision has been made concerning the planned Commencement on May 9. We will notify students and families at a later date regarding Commencement plans.
- The Library will remain open with computers available.
- Food service will remain available with limited hours of operation, but please observe social distancing when dining.
- The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has canceled the 2020 athletic season for all spring sports. As always, the health and safety of our students, staff and spectators are of the utmost importance.
If you have any questions about these decisions, please contact me.
For more information about COVID-19, here is the link to the Center for Disease Control's Coronavirus Fact Sheet. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide hotline at (800) 889-3931 to answer any questions about the coronavirus or to report a suspected case.
Finally, and more than anything, our most important obligation as we make these decisions is your safety and security.
I know how disruptive and disappointing this has been for all of us. Please know I appreciate your patience and understanding as we confront an unprecedented set of circumstances.
Beverly Rodgers, PhD
Statement from the President — March 12, 2020
Dear Mac Family,
Out of great concern for our students, faculty and staff, representatives of the College attended an informational session at Passavant Area Hospital this morning. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis evolving rapidly, I wanted to advise you of decisions we have made based on what we know today and potential next steps we will take into account over the next several days.
First, MacMurray College will extend spring break by one week, with classes tentatively scheduled to resume on March 23. Our first priority is and always has been the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We are therefore directing all students to remain at home and not return to campus.
I want to emphasize there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus at MacMurray College, in Jacksonville, or in Morgan County. We will monitor the situation over the next several days and continue to consult with public health officials about our plans.
Second, as part of our contingency planning, we are preparing for the possibility of transitioning all classes to remote learning. We are consulting with faculty and staff on those potential plans and working to ensure our students can complete coursework and graduation requirements.
We recognize these decisions are disruptive to you personally and are not choices any of us expected to have to make just a few days ago. It's fair to say that each day this week has brought more questions than answers.
I hope you understand we have the MacMurray Family's best interests at heart with today's decision and those we may have to make in the next few days. As we have seen in the last 24 hours, this situation is changing almost by the minute, but I pledge to keep you informed as quickly as possible.
Beverly E Rodgers, PhD.
From the Illinois Department of Public Health
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people.
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. However, the emergence of novel (new) coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been associated with more severe respiratory illness.
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include
- Shortness of breath
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- rarely, fecal contamination
The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself from becoming infected.
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
There are currently no vaccines to protect against human coronavirus infection.
There are no specific treatments. To help relieve symptoms
- take pain and fever medications
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest
Additional Links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Facts Sheet on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-h.pdf
- Prevention of COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html