University updates community on COVID-19 preparedness

Marshall University officials are continuing to closely monitor the public health situation related to the coronavirus COVID-19. Although no cases have been confirmed in West Virginia, the university is actively preparing should the situation change.

Here are the latest updates:

  • Given the escalation of the outbreak internationally, Marshall University has decided to cancel all university-sponsored international travel for at least the next 10 days—through March 15. Determinations regarding travel scheduled after March 15 will be made by Friday, March 13, based on the status of the outbreak at that time. This decision was made in response to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and in consultation with the university’s chief medical officer.
  • Marshall University and Marshall Health officials attended COVID-19 briefings this week with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, Kanawha County Health Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the State of West Virginia. Marshall’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety is coordinating the university’s response to the outbreak in accordance with the Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan. University leadership met this week to review the plan and are making preparations in the event the disease begins to affect the university and the local community.
  • According to health officials, the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to practice the following interventions:
    • Frequent handwashing for 20 seconds using soap and water;
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers and rubbing until hands are dry;
    • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
    • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hands;
    • Cleaning surfaces frequently with common household disinfectants;
    • Propping non-emergency interior doors open to minimize contact with doorknobs and levers;
    • Not shaking hands. Instead, try a fist or forearm bump (or just a friendly smile!); and
    • Staying at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Sick individuals are urged to stay home. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If members of the university community are feeling sick, they are urged to call their healthcare provider before seeking medical care.

Students who have recently traveled internationally, had exposure to a known or suspected case of COVID-19, and are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, should contact Student Health Services at 304-691-1100. Faculty and staff should call their primary care provider.

Additional information about the disease and the university’s response is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus. For information about the university’s preparedness plan, e-mail safety@marshall.edu.