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COVID-19 Update: March 11, 2020

From Bob Lane, Interim President
March 11, 2020
4:35 p.m. Central Time

Dear Simpson College Campus Community,

I am reaching out today to update the Simpson community on our campus response to COVID-19. We recognize your concerns and are committed to your safety.  It is our intent to dispel any rumors and share with you the facts related to our campus response.

Our crisis response team, chaired by Vice President Heidi Levine, has been convened and is meeting daily and monitoring developments hourly. We are closely monitoring the changing developments and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), and we are planning for a number of possible contingencies.

  • As President, I will be meeting via conference call with leaders from the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities tomorrow to discuss statewide COVID-19 response among our peer institutions.
  • Tomorrow, March 12 we will issue guidance related to May Term courses.
  • We have existing technologies in place and are taking steps for any adjustments to course delivery that we may need to make in the future should the situation change. We are making training and resources available to our valued faculty to help in planning for any transition to online.

According to the CDC and IDPH, what remains most important is for people to take steps to practice preventative healthcare.

Following is information from the Iowa Department of Public Health about COVID-19 and the best steps we all can take to stay healthy:

  • It is important to understand the risk of influenza remains much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now.
  • Prevention of COVID-19 is the same as that for other respiratory illnesses (like flu):
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow
    • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
    • Contain germs by staying home when ill
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Please note, we recognize the evolving nature of this situation, and we will post any updates to our COVID-19 website at Simpson.edu/covid19 as well as update the campus community via daily emails.

Bob Lane '81
Interim President