Coronavirus Update and Influenza Information

Information for Patients and General Public

Visit the Marshall Health website for coronavirus information for patients and the general public.

Message from the provost:  Addition of Credit/No Credit grading option for spring semester (April 1, 2020)

Dear Marshall University students,

Due to the emerging hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary transition to online course delivery, Marshall University is making changes to its grading system for the spring semester.

For this semester only, undergraduate students will be able to opt in to receive Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grades based on their final grades as of May 4. CR/NC is an alternative to the traditional A-F grading system.

You must opt in to CR/NC grading no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 24, and may do so on a course-by-course basis. Instructions for the opt in process are forthcoming.

Some important points to remember include:

  • Students who select CR/NC are required to participate in all course activities and assessments through the end of the semester.
  • To earn CR for a course, you must receive a final letter grade of A, B or C; students who receive a final grade of D or F will earn NC.
  • Only CR grades count as credit toward graduation.
  • CR/NC grades will not affect your term or cumulative grade point average either positively or negatively.

You should talk to your academic advisor before making a decision. Please note:

  • The CR/NC grading option may not be appropriate for all courses in accredited programs, for courses associated with professional licensure or for courses requiring clinical/practicum clock-hours. Each academic college will administer exceptions to this policy as necessary.
  • You may need letter grades in certain prerequisite courses to meet admission requirements for professional graduate programs.
  • A final letter grade of D counts as credit toward graduation. For students who opt in under this policy, however, a final grade of D will be converted to NC and will not count as credit toward graduation.
  • For undergraduate students who are repeating a course under the D/F repeat rule and who opt to receive CR/NC grading, the CR or NC will replace the D/F grade from the previous attempt. If the earlier grade to be replaced is a D, an NC would trigger a reduction in total credits earned.

We hope this change to our grading policy provides the flexibility you need to feel more comfortable proceeding with your education during this particularly challenging time.

Please remember to check your Marshall e-mail regularly for updates, and thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,
Jaime R. Taylor, Ph.D.
Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Message from the provost regarding changes to summer Intersession and Session I (March 31, 2020)

Dear Marshall students, faculty and staff,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make some changes to the plans for Intersession and Session I of summer school, which begin May 11 and May 18 respectively.

The only courses we will be offering during those first two sessions of summer school are those that can be delivered all-online, as well as those that include some synchronous activities delivered electronically with no personal contact (i.e., hybrid courses).

This decision was made in consideration of the health and welfare of our university community. While we don’t yet know how long there will be a need for physical distancing, we wanted to make this announcement now to give our faculty and students time to adjust their plans.

Faculty who need assistance in identifying the best methods to convert a face-to-face course to an online or hybrid format should contact the Online Learning and Instructional Design Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The university is updating the summer class schedule to reflect this information and any changes to class offerings for the summer term. The updated Summer 2020 class schedule will be available in MyMU. Due to these changes to the summer class schedule, we encourage you to check back frequently, as we expect there may be additional changes over the next several weeks.

A decision has not been made yet regarding Summer II (June 8-July 9) and Summer III sessions (July 14-Aug. 13).

Please remember to check your Marshall e-mail regularly, as it is the primary way for the university to communicate with you.

We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

Sincerely,

Jaime R. Taylor, Ph.D.

Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Required campus notification regarding COVID-19 (March 30, 2020)

This information is being released in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).

Dear Marshall University community,

The health, safety and well-being of everyone at Marshall University is our top priority.

With that concern at the foundation of every decision we make, I am writing to inform you of recent events relative to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and to remind you of the necessity of social distancing.

For the last several weeks, we’ve provided you with updates and support in the form of e-mails, text messages, videos, and social media and website posts about our university’s response to—and preparedness for—COVID-19. The latest information about Marshall and the virus can be found at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus>. The site is updated on a regular basis.

Further, concerns and questions can be forwarded to coronavirus@marshall.edu. University administrators are continually monitoring that inbox to respond as quickly and comprehensively as possible to our community’s questions, concerns and suggestions.

This one-time communication is part of a federally required safety notification related to COVID-19.

Through reports to our emergency management structure and the health care protocols we have established, we have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students or employees. Please review our Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan for information regarding established protocols to be used in the event a case is identified on campus.

Given that we operate an academic medical center, which is also one of the state’s largest health care providers, our physicians and other health care providers are leading efforts to screen, test and treat potential COVID-19 patients. To date, one case has been reported in Cabell County out of 124 statewide as of yesterday.

Last week, we asked all students who were able to move out of the residence halls to return to their permanent residences or to make alternative housing arrangements to continue their studies remotely. Students who remain—because they cannot travel home—are being housed in individual rooms in residence halls on the east end of campus, where they can be supported.

Social distancing is the most important health measure we can take as a community to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing saves lives.

Here are some tips to ensure appropriate social distancing measures:

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is the practice of avoiding large crowds or, if you have to be around others, keeping a distance of at least six feet.

What does social distancing do?

It helps to slow the spread of an outbreak and is currently recommended for people of all ages.

How does it slow the spread of the virus?

COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact and the respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. If you put space between yourself and others, you are less likely to become infected or spread it yourself.

What should I be doing?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is constantly updating its guidance on social distancing. To be certain you are getting up-to-date information, you should continuously check their website at cdc.gov. It is also important to stay in tune with the precautions your federal, state and local governments are taking to keep you safe. Visit coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.

Recognize that COVID-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets that can suspend in air for a period of time, and to contain all respiratory secretions with tissue and then immediately discard and sanitize hands.

Frequent HANDWASHING with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to prevent spread of disease, infection and viruses.

If handwashing is not readily available, utilize hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol based.

How is social distancing different from self-quarantine or self-isolation?

Social distancing is maintaining a safe distance from others. Self-quarantining keeps someone who doesn’t have symptoms but was exposed to the virus away from others, so they don’t unknowingly infect anyone else. Health experts recommend that self-quarantine last 14 days. This provides enough time for them to know whether or not they will become ill and be contagious to other people.

Self-isolation keeps people who are confirmed to have COVID-19 away from those who are not infected. Self-isolation takes place in one’s home, but can also take place at a hospital or other care facility.

Thank you for your attention to these issues and for your commitment to the health and safety of everyone in our Marshall family.

Please continue to monitor your university e-mail account for updates.

Sincerely,

James E. Terry
Chief, Marshall University Police Department
Director of Public Safety

Message from President Gilbert (March 19, 2020)

Dear Marshall University students, faculty and staff,

Thank you all for your cooperation and patience as we have dealt with the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has created. The safety and security of our university family and our communities continues to be our highest priority.

With that in mind, we are making some additional changes to university operations, as follows:

  • Instruction will be held exclusively online or through other alternative learning formats through the end of the spring 2020 semester (we previously had announced using such formats through at least April 13). We will be communicating with faculty, students and their families about how we can support them as we transition to online instruction for the remainder of this semester.
  • Because we will not be resuming in-person instruction this semester, residence hall students who can return to their permanent residences or make alternative housing arrangements to continue their studies remotely should make plans to do so as soon as possible. Exceptions can be made for students who cannot return home (i.e., international students, those who do not have anywhere else to go, those who have elderly relatives at home, etc.). Students who need to stay on campus should complete the online Housing Extended Stay Request Form. Students who have left campus will not be permitted to return to retrieve their belongings until they receive instructions from the university, which will be forthcoming soon. Students who live in residence halls will receive specific instructions regarding when they will be allowed to return to campus to retrieve their belongings. Students must follow those instructions carefully to allow us to manage the number of people in the halls and to practice appropriate social distancing.
  • In keeping with the Centers for Disease Control recommendation not to hold large gatherings for the next eight weeks, we are postponing the May 2, 2020, commencement exercises. This decision was made out of concern for the health and safety of our students and their families; as well as that of our staff and faculty who participate. There will be a commencement to celebrate our spring 2020 graduating class; and we will schedule it for a time when we are able to do so in a healthy and safe environment. We will communicate as soon as details are worked out to ensure everyone involved can make travel plans. This decision does not change the semester completion date for our students, nor does it affect the timeline for students earning their degrees. We are only postponing the graduation ceremony and public celebration.
  • Tuition refunds will not be offered. While the modes of delivery have changed, instruction is still being delivered and semester hours are still being earned and awarded. For students in university residence halls, and for those with meal plans, we intend to provide some type of prorated credit, pending approval by the university’s Board of Governors. Details are still being worked out and eligible students will be contacted by the end of April.
  • Marshall University will remain open, with minimal staff on site to ensure safety and continuity of essential services. We want to make certain our faculty, staff and students are safe, that we do our part to help stem the spread of the virus, and that we fulfill our mission to graduate our students, even in the face of these challenging times.

Additional information about COVID-19 and the university’s response is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus. Students and employees can e-mail COVID19@marshall.edu with questions about general university procedures related to the virus or these changes to university operations.

For health-related concerns, students should contact Student Health Services at 304-691-1100. Faculty and staff should call their primary care provider.

Marshall Health has set up a dedicated phone line at 304-696-2900 for the general public, particularly for patients who think they may have been exposed to the virus. The line is staffed by healthcare professionals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please continue to monitor your e-mail and the website for updates and, if you haven’t already done so, enroll in the university’s MU Alert System.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we navigate these difficult times.

Sincerely,
Jerome A. Gilbert, Ph.D.
President

Message from President Gilbert (March 11, 2020)

Photo of Marshall University President Jerome A. GilbertAfter careful consideration of the implications of the possible spread of COVID-19 and its impact on our students and their families, I have decided to alter the university calendar.

Our task force of senior leadership and subject matter experts are conferring around the clock, focused on our university’s preparations and response. We have been monitoring developments closely and providing regular updates to you as the rapidly changing situation evolves. We have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of our university community and the community at large.

To protect our university community, and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community at large, we have decided to institute the following measures:

  • Marshall will suspend in-person classes next week—March 16-20—to allow our faculty to prepare for altered course delivery following Spring Break.
  • The week of suspended classes will be followed by the scheduled Spring Break March 23-27.
  • Beginning Monday, March 30, all class instruction will be delivered non-face-to-face. These distance methods will vary from class to class, and may include online, e-mail or other means.
  • Students will receive information from their instructors about how to access instruction remotely.
  • Faculty will use March 16-20 to prepare their classes for remote delivery. Later this week, all faculty will receive information from the Office of Academic Affairs about next steps.
  • Regular, online-only classes are not suspended and will continue as scheduled March 16-20.
  • It is anticipated the university will return to normal academic operations on April 13, or when university officials determine it is safe to resume in-person instruction. Please monitor your e-mail for updates.
  • While completing classes virtually, students may choose to remain home after Spring Break or return to campus, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged. Students who decide to stay at home should be sure to take textbooks, course materials, laptops, tablets and critical personal items with them when they leave.
  • For students who elect to remain on campus, residence halls will be open and food service options will be available.
  • The university will remain open and operational. Employees are expected to report to work, practicing social distancing and preventative hygiene measures.
  • Classroom experiences such as laboratory and performance classes are being evaluated and the university will provide specific guidance in the coming days.
  • Health sciences students who are involved in clinical rotations and clinical work will receive further direction from health sciences leadership and deans. Information about labs, testing and other items will be provided.
  • All university-sponsored international travel continues to be suspended until further notice. If you are traveling internationally for either business or personal reasons, please complete the online International Travel Registration Form so we can monitor our travel footprint. University-sponsored domestic travel is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information about COVID-19 and the university’s response is available at www.marshall.edu/coronavirus. We have also set up an e-mail address, COVID19@marshall.edu, for students or employees who have questions about general university procedures related to the virus or these changes to the university calendar.

For health-related concerns, students should contact Student Health Services at 304-691-1100.

Marshall Health has set up a dedicated phone line at 304-696-2900 for the general public, particularly for patients who think they may have been exposed to the virus. The line is staffed by healthcare professionals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please continue to monitor your e-mail and the website for updates and, if you haven’t already done so, enroll in the university’s MU Alert System.

Sincerely,
Jerome A. Gilbert, Ph.D.
President

COVID-19 Update (March 10, 2020)

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 virus begin to affect the institution and community.

Marshall University and Marshall Health officials have attended COVID-19 briefings with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, the Kanawha-Charleston 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 is meeting frequently to review the plan.

Marshall University has an emergency management system that includes many different scenarios, including dealing with a communicable disease outbreak. In the event COVID-19 escalates to a higher risk for our community, the emergency management system will be implemented. To follow public safety and emergency announcements from Marshall University, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to enroll in the MU Alert system.

More information about COVID-19, its symptoms, common forms of transmission and preventative steps is available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

University Travel and Mandatory Travel Registry

  • Given the escalation of the outbreak internationally, Marshall University has decided to cancel all university-sponsored international travel through April 30. The situation will be reassessed at that time and a decision made regarding future travel. 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.
  • As Spring Break approaches, students, faculty and staff who have plans to travel either internationally OR to affected areas in the U.S. are strongly urged to reconsider their travel. Please take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning to Marshall University and our community.
  • For members of the Marshall community who do travel internationally, the university has created a mandatory international travel registry. Effective immediately and until further notice, all international travelers must register personal as well as professional travel. This applies to travelers who are already in these jurisdictions. Local, state and federal travel regulations and health guidelines are changing rapidly, and we want to be as responsive and supportive as possible should more changes occur.
  • Any student, faculty or staff member returning to the U.S. from any country determined by the Centers for Disease Control to be a Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) will be asked to undergo quarantine at their permanent home residence for a minimum of 14 days prior to returning to campus. If undergoing quarantine at your permanent residence is not possible due to extraordinary circumstances, the university will provide temporary housing during the mandatory quarantine period. Affected individuals should contact the Office of Student Affairs at studentaffairs@marshall.edu.
  • The university is in close, regular communication with students currently abroad on exchange and other programs, regarding how to monitor and assess their current situations based on conditions in the country they are visiting.

About COVID-19

How is it spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. Therefore, it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment, although there have been fatal cases of COVID-19.

What is the treatment?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation.

How can people protect themselves?

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth because viruses can be transmitted from surfaces to your body.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. For excused absences, students should contact the Office of Student Advocacy and Support.
  • If you are feeling sick, call your 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 or the Marshall Health hotline at 304-696-2900, particularly if you believe you have been exposed. There also are two local hospitals, and the emergency department of both are available 24/7.

Seasonal Flu Information

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends that everyone receive the seasonal flu vaccine. Emphasis is always placed on early vaccination of high-risk individuals. The flu season generally runs from October through March and sometimes in early April.

The seasonal influenza virus is spread mainly by person-to-person contact through droplets created by coughing or sneezing of infected people. The seasonal flu has a greater impact on young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease); these individuals are at high risk for serious complications.

Signs and symptoms of seasonal flu are similar to the common cold, however the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough and sore throat are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

For more information visit the CDC’s influenza web site.