VanCoug Alerts

Guidance and Recommendations Regarding the EBOLA Virus

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 9:56am

MEMORANDUM

To: The Washington State University (WSU) Community
From: The WSU Infectious Disease Response Team
Date: October 8, 2014
Re: Guidance and Recommendations Regarding the EBOLA Virus

The WSU Infectious Disease Response Team (IDRT) has been closely monitoring the evolving threat of the Ebola virus, including outbreaks in several West African countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Guinea) and the recent case of the traveler from Liberia presenting with Ebola infection in Texas. Current steps are being taken by the CDC to minimize the spread of the virus making the risk to the public for this situation quite low. 

Health organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also working on a global level to contain, and eventually eradicate this threat. Accordingly, members of the university community, including students, faculty, and staff at all WSU campuses should stay abreast of public health information about Ebola.

Continuously updated information about Ebola can be found on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/

The CDC has also provided specific guidance for universities, colleges, and students regarding Ebola at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/advice-for-colleges-universities-and-students-about-ebola-in-west-africa

Consistent with this guidance, WSU has implemented the following:

  • Restricting all non-essential university related travel to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.  The IDRT will continue to monitor the evolving situation and re-evaluate this restriction accordingly. Further possible restrictions to travel will be based upon CDC Level 2 and Level 3 Travel Alerts.

Any students who have traveled from any of the affected countries within the past 21 days are asked to contact Health and Wellness Services (HWS) at (509) 335-3575. Any faculty or staff traveling from any of the affected countries is asked to contact their health care provider or their local county health department.  Clark County Public Health may be contacted at 360-397-8182, www.clark.wa.gov/public-health

  1. Travelers from affected countries are also asked to monitor themselves for possible symptoms of Ebola (fever, headache, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, or bleeding). If travelers have symptoms, they should call their health care provider or their local county health department immediately to report symptoms and recent travel history. It is important to call first before seeking help in person so that precautions to contain possible spread of the virus can be enacted in a timely manner.
  2. WSU strongly encourages faculty and staff who are traveling abroad to register with the WSU International Travel Registry at http://ip.wsu.edu/global-learning/travel-registry.html
  3. WSU requires all students traveling abroad for non-credit earning opportunities to register with the WSU International Travel Registry at the link specified above.
  4. We have already contacted a small number of students arriving from Nigeria at the beginning of fall semester, none of whom have developed symptoms. To our knowledge, there has been no further recent travel from affected areas within our university communities.

Despite the recent case in the United States, the threat of Ebola spreading to our university communities remains low at this time. Spread of Ebola from affected areas requires recent travel by a person who has been in extended recent contact with bodily fluids from an afflicted individual. Timely identification of persons traveling from affected areas coupled with close monitoring and reporting of symptoms is a cautious and prudent approach to continue to contain this risk.  Students with questions may contact HWS at (509) 335-3575. Faculty and staff with questions should contact their health care provider or their local county public health department.

LOCKDOWN DRILL – THIS IS ONLY A TEST

Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 10:30am

10:30 – 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

The Lockdown Drill is designed to simulate the presence of a hostile intruder.

During a lockdown, you should:

  • Find a space with a lockable door and lock it
  • Turn off lights
  • Cover the windows as well as possible
  • Silence all audio devices such as cell phones
  • Quietly form a plan to attack an intruder who enters your space with hostile intent

During the lockdown drill, expect exterior doors to automatically lock, and for staff to be checking areas for drill compliance and mechanical systems operation. If you are outside a building when the locks engage, you may have to wait up to 15 minutes for staff members to do their jobs before the buildings reopen.

In an effort to minimize disruption, the drill will last no more than 30 minutes. Your participation is encouraged. This is an opportunity for the entire campus community to practice procedures and learn the expectations of a lockdown. An “all clear” message will signal the end of the drill just as it would in an actual incident.

Three Elevators Scheduled to be Out of Service this Fall

Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 10:44am

Elevators in the following three buildings will be out of service as follows:

  • Dengerink Administration Building, Sept. 8 – Oct. 10
  • Library,  Oct. 20 – Nov. 26
  • Classroom Building, Dec. 1 – Jan. 16

If you have an accessibility issue, call 360-546-9000 and report your situation. Every effort will be made to offer a reasonable accommodation. Please plan ahead if possible.

What if I need access upstairs during an elevator outage?
Planning early is the best strategy. As soon as you identify an accessibility issue, call 360-546-9000 and report your situation. Every effort will be made to offer a reasonable accommodation. Here are some specific examples of things you can do and accommodations that can be arranged:

  • Writing Center: While the Library elevator is out of service, call the Writing Center at least half an hour before you plan to be there and a staff member will meet you downstairs. The Library will have a quiet room available for Writing Center use.
  • Study sessions, club meetings, events, meetings with faculty advisors and others: Contact the organizers to arrange for an accessible location.
  • Staff/faculty offices: Work with your supervisor to arrange an accessible work space or work remotely from home.

Will there be a way for individuals with access issues to get upstairs?
Sorry, no. There will not be a means for getting people upstairs. It would be unwise for the university to risk transporting individuals. And please don’t take it upon yourself to help in that manner. Lifting or carrying someone could be awkward or embarrassing, and downright dangerous for everyone involved. Arranging accommodations is the best way to go.

Why are the elevators going offline?
The elevators in the Dengerink Administration Building, Library and Classroom Building are the oldest on campus. Their mechanics are out of date and replacement parts are difficult or impossible to get. As a matter of safety, these three elevators will be modernized with new equipment to prevent a prolonged outage and even greater inconvenience should one of them develop a serious maintenance issue.

Why now? Why not wait until a break?
After identifying the problem, securing funding and scheduling maintenance, fall was the earliest this project could start. And it is too serious to wait for winter or summer break.

Frankly, these three older elevators have been acting up. We want to prevent staff, students and guests from becoming stuck in an elevator. And we don’t want to be surprised by a prolonged outage should one of these elevators develop a serious maintenance issue. Scheduling this maintenance gives people time to plan for alternative arrangements.

Why are you working on the elevators one at a time?
Taking one elevator offline at a time minimizes overall impact to campus. In addition, it would be very difficult for the contractor to work on more than one elevator at a time. We hope the learnings from the first elevator will make maintenance on the others quicker and easier.

What has been done to lessen the impact of the elevator outages?
We are encouraging early planning. Communications have gone out to faculty, staff and students and signs are placed on every elevator on every floor to give people an opportunity to be aware of the outage and plan ahead to make accommodations.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE during this very important maintenance project.

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