Important Information Regarding Novel Coronavirus

Update - June 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As we celebrate our graduating seniors, I would like to thank you for your remarkable dedication to Union and our students. I know that many of our seniors, while disappointed at not spending their final term on campus, are truly grateful for the many Union employees who made their student experience exceptional over the past four years.

As I mentioned in a letter on June 5, I write today to update you on the pursuit of our shared goal: to all be safely together on campus again.

Reaching that goal will require a shared understanding that we must all carefully follow a measured plan that will ensure the safety of all members of our community. The return of each Union employee to campus will follow the guidelines outlined in the NY Forward Plan. As reopening phases continue, we will update our plan based on guidance from state and federal officials.

In this current phase, research faculty and some additional facilities and support staff will return to campus and will be following public health guidelines. Vice presidents will be working with their divisions to identify who is able to return to campus and the timelines for doing so. Employees who are able to complete their work remotely will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

We have posted a Return to Campus Plan for employees (faculty, staff and administrators) online that outlines necessary steps and actions we all must take for keeping our community safe. The plan includes information on key elements for preventing infection, guidance for administrative units and screening documents for our community to use prior to their return to campus, among other topics.

Please take a few moments to read this information and speak with your chair, dean, or supervisor about next steps. In addition, our managers and Human Resources staff are available to discuss circumstances that may be unique to your personal or professional situation.

I will continue to keep you updated as our plans progress. Thank you for your continued commitment.

Best,

Michele

Michele M. Gibson
Vice President for Administration and Finance
Union College

Important Health and Safety Information

ILLNESS PREVENTION

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

Students - If you have symptoms please contact Health Services at (518) 388-6120 or your primary care physician. For general questions about the coronavirus please contact the New York State Department of Health.

Employees –If you have symptoms please contact your primary care physician. For general questions about the coronavirus please contact the New York State Department of Health.

SUPPORT SERVICES

We understand that this situation may be troubling to many in our community. The Counseling Center ((518) 388-6161) is available to students who are looking for support at this time. Faculty and staff can access resources through the employee assistance plan.

This is a rapidly developing situation. We will continue to monitor the status and update campus on any developments. Please continue to take all recommended precautionary measures.

Communications

  • June 5, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    Over the last three months, as we’ve stayed apart but kept connected, the employees of Union College have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to our students and to each other. As we end the final week of the term and head into finals, I want to thank you for rising to meet this challenge and to update you on the status of our reopening plan.

    As you may know, New York State’s phased, regional reopening plan, New York Forward, was launched several weeks ago. The Capitol Region is now in phase 2, which allows office work, libraries, and lab research to resume, provided public health guidelines can be followed.

    While we look forward to the day when we will all be together on campus again, we are mindful of the health and safety of all. So, we must take a measured approach to our return. For the foreseeable future, employees who are able to complete their work remotely will continue to do so.

    By June 15 we will communicate return plans to staff and faculty through vice presidents and supervisors. In the interim, I will continue leading work to ensure we can comply with New York State public health guidance. Vice President and Dean of Faculty Strom Thacker will lead our efforts to identify the specific needs of lab researchers. Plans for the upcoming academic year and students’ return to campus will be announced by the end of the month.

    In April, we had to make the difficult decision to temporary furlough many of our valued colleagues. This has been one of the most painful chapters of this crisis, and we look forward to the day when we can work together. Our furloughed colleagues, who are receiving this communication, will be part of our phased return.

    In addition to discussing departmental plans, our managers and Human Resources staff are available to discuss circumstances that may be unique to your personal or professional situation. I would encourage you to reach out to these individuals once the departmental guidance is shared.

    Again, best wishes as we head into the end of the spring term. Thank you for your continued dedication to Union.

    Michele

    Michele M. Gibson
    Vice President for Administration and Finance
    Union College


  • May 1, 2020

    Dear Union College Community,
    Below is a message we sent to our seniors today about Commencement 2020.
    _______________________________

    Dear Seniors,


    On April 14, we announced that we would work with members of the Class of 2020 and other members of the Union community to determine the viability of holding a safe campus Commencement on June 14.


    After careful consideration and deep reflection, we have determined we must move the campus ceremony from June 14 to a later date to be determined. While conditions in New York continue to improve, current state regulations do not allow us to bring large numbers of people to campus. Like the vast majority of schools in New York and across the country, we have concluded that it is unlikely that changes in safety and social distancing requirements will come quickly enough to allow for the kind of interaction and celebration you want and deserve.


    Through a variety of communications -- including an April 20 senior class meeting and a class survey -- we heard clearly that seniors most value the opportunity to gather to commemorate their achievements, reflect on their shared experience, and celebrate the rich traditions of the College.
    We also heard clearly that seniors value the welfare of all members of our community.

    We understand how important it is to you and your families to have the opportunity to come together at Union and celebrate this important life achievement. While we cannot tell you exactly when that celebration will take place, we can promise you the following:

    • We will confer your degree on June 14, 2020. You will be a Union College graduate on that date (assuming you have met all of the requirements).
    • We will recognize your accomplishment with a brief virtual conferral of degrees for you and your families on June 14.
    • We will continue to work with representatives of the senior class to determine the best time to bring the class of 2020 back to campus for a formal ceremony and to celebrate with friends and family.

    We know this news is disappointing for you, as it is for everyone at Union. We hope you understand that this decision was made to protect your health and safety and that of our community.


    We all look forward to celebrating your accomplishments and Union experiences together on campus.
    Best regards,
    David Harris, President
    Strom Thacker, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

  • April 24, 2020

    Dear Union College Community,

    As we approach the fifth week of this unique term, I am reflecting on our accomplishments thus far, and how we will prepare Union to not only survive under these challenging circumstances, but to emerge even stronger.

    I continue to be tremendously proud of how our entire Union community has responded. I appreciate the difficulty and stress involved in taking our entire spring term online. This has not been easy; you have all risen to the occasion. Thank you for your courage and compassion during this difficult time.

    As part of our recent strategic planning process we identified the importance of becoming more comfortable being uncomfortable and embracing necessary change. We took pride in developing a strategic plan that harnessed Union’s unique assets and offerings and committed to a vision to develop students to lead in uncertain times. Now, sooner than expected, and in unanticipated ways, we are facing uncertain times as a society, an institution, and as individuals. We must prepare for multiple tomorrows. We must put innovative thinking into action so that Union can thrive not only in the coming year but also for the next 225 years.

    To address this challenge, I have appointed a new working group, Planning for Multiple Tomorrows (PMT)—comprised of students, faculty, and staff—which I will chair. For the next month, PMT will consider a variety of scenarios, and offer new and creative ideas for how the College can continue to achieve its mission and realize its vision. We have a compelling strategic plan to guide us. We remain committed to our core mission of offering a residential liberal education that emphasizes integration, innovation and reflection for every student. The focus will be on the 2020-21 academic year, but with an understanding that the coming year will have an impact on our longer-term success.

    The group’s charge is to recommend to College leadership solutions that will allow Union to:

    1. Safeguard the health and well-being of our campus community and surrounding communities.
    2. Complete an academic year while remaining true to the goals articulated in The Power of Union, and our vision of developing every student to lead with wisdom, empathy, and courage now and across multiple tomorrows. This includes the strong preference for resuming and sustaining our residential model.
    3. Ensure the short- and long-term financial sustainability of the College.

    Planning for Multiple Tomorrows Working Group:

    David Harris, President (Chair)

    Michele Angrist, Dean of Studies

    Connor Bitterman '22, Political Science Major

    Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

    Brad Bruno, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    David Cotter, Professor of Sociology

    Darcy Czajka '00, Chief of Staff

    Greta Donato, Director of Academic Planning and Finance

    Jossara (Jo) Dos Santos Dias '22, Biochemistry Major

    Ann Floresca, Director of Auxiliary Services

    Christen Gowan, Director of Digital Strategy

    Jennifer Grayburn, Director of Digital Scholarship & Public Services

    Gretchel Hathaway, Dean of Diversity & Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer

    Fareeza Islam, Associate Director of Residential Life

    Steve Jo, Director of Gift Planning and Interim Director of Major Gifts

    Matt Malatesta '91, Vice President for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment

    Jim McLaughlin '93, Director of Athletics

    Nicole Marshall, Director of College Grants & Sponsored Programs

    Erika Nelson Mukherjee, Associate Professor of German

    Laura Munkres, Associate Director of Minerva Programs

    Jillmarie Murphy, Professor of English, Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

    Blair Raymond, Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations

    Ryan Ribeiro, Residence Director (West College)/Interim Director of Community Standards

    Leah Rosen, Vice President for Communications and Marketing

    Nicole Theodosiou, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Co- Director of Biochemistry

    After the PMT submits its recommendations to senior leadership, we will engage in a brief period of deliberation and consultation. We expect to announce 2020-21 plans in June.

    I have often remarked that Union College has weathered many storms over the past 225 years, as what happens in society almost always impacts colleges and universities. I thank the students, faculty, and staff who have agreed to join the PMT for their service. The wisdom, empathy, and courage they will exhibit, along with the partnership of our broader Union community, will ensure that Union thrives across all of the multiple tomorrows that await us.

    Best,
    David

  • April 7, 2020

    Dear Union College Community,

    Our college, our country, and the world are experiencing unprecedented disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past month, we have taken actions that would have been unimaginable a short time ago. Like most colleges and universities, we canceled spring study away programs, moved our current term online, asked faculty and staff to work from home, and restricted on-campus staffing as much as possible.

    As state and federal governments have moved aggressively to slow this pandemic, the negative impacts on the U.S. economy, higher education, and Union College have been substantial. The move away from residential education has resulted in a substantial loss of room and board revenue. Moreover, due to our online spring term, and Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders restricting faculty and staff access to campus, many Union employees can no longer perform most or all of their job-related duties.

    Identifying how best to respond to the challenges created by COVID-19 will take time for all of us. At Union, we will evaluate what is best for the College and our various constituencies, both now and in the long term, and pursue appropriate actions. We will begin with the following:

    • There will be a wage and salary freeze for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, other than increases due to staff promotions and faculty tenure and promotions. Exceptions will be rare and must be recommended by a vice president and approved by me.
    • There will be a pause on all faculty and staff hiring for the remainder of 2020. Exceptions, which must address a critical need and will be rare, must be recommended by a vice president and approved by me.
    • Vice presidents will work with their units to closely manage operating budget spending through the end of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
    • After extensive deliberation and thorough exploration of all possible alternatives, we have decided to temporarily furlough employees who, through no fault of their own, are unable to perform most or all of their job-related duties in a remote setting or when students are away from campus. Supervisors are having individual conversations with those employees who will be temporarily furloughed. Our March 13 commitment to pay all employees through April 10 will be extended until April 17. All furloughs will take effect on April 18. Our expectation, which we are communicating directly to each employee affected by this temporary furlough, is to bring them back to work once we are able to return to normal campus operations.

    A critical factor in our decision to temporarily furlough employees was the recent passage of the federal CARES Act, which provides those who are eligible for unemployment insurance with additional benefits, including a $600 weekly supplement. The CARES Act is designed to assist employers and employees with situations like ours, in which employees cannot perform most or all of their job-related duties due to the COVID-19 response.

    Through unemployment insurance and the additional federal supplement, nearly all of our temporarily furloughed employees will receive income that is at least comparable to their current weekly earnings. In addition, we will continue to provide health insurance for these employees during the temporary furlough period. It is important that staff and the College benefit from critical state and federal initiatives as we navigate these unique circumstances and unforeseen budgetary impacts.

    We know that applying for unemployment insurance is something that employees would rather not do, and that the process of doing so at this time of unprecedented demand for services may be challenging. We are offering to assist each of our employees in navigating this process. We will make Human Resources staff and free external resources available. If individuals experience a delay in receiving unemployment insurance benefits because government offices continue to struggle with unprecedented demand, we are prepared to help bridge that gap and ensure employees are not left exposed to economic hardship.

    Last, I want to reiterate that which should be clear, but which cannot be overstated. The sole reason employees are being temporarily furloughed is because some duties simply cannot be performed without employees being physically present on campus or without students being on campus. These employees are valued members of our community, and they are crucial to providing the integrated, innovative and inclusive student experience that is the hallmark of Union College. This furlough does not reflect their place in our community, their contributions to this institution, or the quality of work they have performed.

    Over the past 225 years, Union College has been impacted by wars, recessions, the Great Depression, a flu pandemic, and numerous other exceptional threats to the status quo. Each time, the College and our community have made difficult choices and emerged stronger. I am confident that our response to this pandemic will be no different. It will not be easy, but I have no doubt that before long, our entire Union College community – students, faculty and staff – will once again be together on our spectacular campus, engaging with one another and achieving beyond expectations. Until then, please do all you can to stay safe and to keep others safe.

    Best,

    David

  • March 29, 2020

    Dear Campus Community,

    As I think about the past two weeks, it’s hard to believe how much has changed in our world and at Union. Through all of the challenges we have faced, I continue to be impressed by our community. I am inspired by how students, faculty and staff have responded to uncertainty and focused on overcoming the challenges that lie ahead. Faculty are sharing ideas for remote education with one another. Staff are adapting to telecommuting or to being among the very few people on campus. Students, most of whom have left campus, are preparing for a term unlike any experienced by the many classes that preceded them.

    As we begin the spring term tomorrow, I want to update you on a few important areas:

    • The staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 12 is recovering well. The Department of Health has not informed us of any additional cases that require members of the Union community to be tested or quarantined. Our thoughts go out to all of the individuals and families who have been impacted by this pandemic.
    • Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s executive orders, Union has reduced on-campus staffing to the minimum number required to support the small number of students living on campus, and other essential functions. All students are now in one residence hall, most campus buildings are closed, and services have been reduced or suspended.
    • ReUnion Weekend 2020 has been rescheduled to coincide with Homecoming & Family Weekend, which will be held October 23-25, 2020.
    • We have been updating our FAQs regularly with new information for students, faculty and staff. If you have questions that are not covered there, please call one of the numbers listed on this page, or email askcvtf@union.edu.

    Our strategic plan speaks to multiple tomorrows, to how a Union education and the Union spirit prepare us for opportunities and challenges we can foresee, as well as those that we cannot. The Union College Challenge calls on us to become comfortable with what makes us uncomfortable, and to support, encourage, and celebrate one another in their Union College Challenges. The spring term won’t be easy, because multiple tomorrows and that which makes us uncomfortable never are. I have no doubt that together we will find ways to exceed expectations. I also have no doubt that we will learn important lessons about ourselves and our community that will prepare us to thrive through the challenges and opportunities that await after current crises have become memories.

    I look forward to continuing to engage all of you in innovative ways over the coming months, and to greeting you by the Nott Memorial, and holding the door for you at Reamer, before long.

    Regards,

    David

  • March 20, 2020 @12:08 p.m.

    Dear Students,

    Every day brings new challenges and guidance. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order requiring businesses, including colleges and universities, to cut on-site staffing to 25 percent of the typical workforce. For the health and safety of our Union community and broader communities, we should all be at home as much as possible, and that includes taking extra measures to consolidate and reduce the needs of our campus.

    In an effort to slow the spread and consequences of this disease, we must limit ourselves to the smallest possible number of buildings and on-site staff that are required to support students who cannot leave, and essential functions that must be performed. We are asking the following of our students:

    Students Who Have Left Campus

    Pick up any belongings you need by March 22 at 5 p.m. We understand that the housing office sent out messages indicating that families could come and pick up their belongings by March 27. Their message noted that dates could change. Unfortunately and for the reasons articulated above, they must. If you are not able to retrieve your belongings by Sunday March 22 at 5 pm, your belongings will remain here until we are able to allow people back to campus.

    • If you still have your key, please return to your building, gather your belongings and then leave your key with campus safety in College Park Hall. If you have already turned in your key, please head to College Park Hall for assistance with being let into your room.
    • We understand that this is stressful and difficult for all. It is our intention to work with you as we abide by guidance that is changing daily. I ask that you continue to be considerate of the staff who are doing their best to support you, as they work through the uncertainty we are all facing at home and at work.

    On-Campus Students

    We will be consolidating remaining students into College Park Hall beginning this weekend. We hope to vacate as many campus buildings as possible to minimize the number of cleaners who need to be on campus. Note that there are department of health guidelines that require a minimal level of cleaning for occupied buildings. Residential Life staff will be in touch with you with specific details.

    As always, thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate these rapidly changing conditions together.

    Take care, David

  • March 20, 2020 @ 10:03 a.m.

    Dear Faculty and Staff,

    I want to thank everyone who has been working under these unprecedented and uncertain conditions. Every day brings new challenges and guidance. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order requiring businesses, including colleges and universities, to cut on-site staffing to 25 percent of the typical workforce. This is one day after he required a cut to 50 percent of the typical on-site workforce. This week, the number of confirmed cases in New York increased from under 1,000 to more than 5,000. The number continues to grow in the Capital Region as well. These are all indications that concerns are becoming reality and restrictions may continue. For the health and safety of our Union community and broader communities, we should all be at home as much as possible, and that includes taking extra measures to consolidate and reduce the needs of our campus.

    Before I share the implications of this announcement for our campus, I would like to express significant gratitude to the hard-working members of our community who have continued to serve students and employees on campus. In particular, I appreciate greatly our housekeepers, food service workers, facilities employees, campus safety officers, library staff and residential life staff for working tirelessly to perform their on-campus duties while managing the stresses and concerns we all have at this difficult time. It is with the well-being of these colleagues in mind, and that of our broader Union and local communities, that I share the following guidance.

    We are now moving faster and farther than anticipated from minimal staffing toward effectively closing campus. In an effort to slow the spread and consequences of this disease, we must limit ourselves to the smallest possible number of buildings and on-site staff that are required to support students who cannot leave, and essential functions that must be performed.

    Faculty and Staff

    1. Effective today at 5 p.m., plan to work entirely from home until further notice. Please take what you need from your offices as soon as possible but no later than Sunday, March 22. No one will be allowed to work in campus buildings without prior permission from their supervisor.


      a. If you were planning to conduct your course on campus because it is more convenient or private, we ask that you reconsider.

      b. If you must be on campus to teach or perform other aspects of your job, please discuss with your chair or supervisor the minimal amount of time you will need to be on campus. Also, please discuss alternatives to being on campus, should restrictions continue and require that you work remotely.

    2. Buildings will be closed with minimal facilities support. This will mean closing bathrooms and reducing cleaning schedules. We hope to vacate as many buildings as possible to minimize the number of cleaners who need to be on campus. Note that there are department of health guidelines that require a minimal level of cleaning for occupied buildings.
    3. If at all possible, meetings should be conducted virtually. This is not a new request, but we want to reiterate the message given changing state and federal guidance on gatherings.
    4. Mail will be sorted and available for pick up from 10 a.m. until noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Reamer.

    As always, thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate these rapidly changing conditions together.

    Take care, David

  • March 17, 2020

    Dear Campus Community,

    I think it is fair to say that the past week exceeded what most of us thought probable. The situation continues to change at a remarkable pace. Here are some very recent developments:

    • President Trump announced that gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided for the next 15 days.
    • The CDC recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people be suspended for eight weeks.
    • New York Governor Cuomo ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, and theaters until further notice. He asked other private businesses to close and said he may mandate closures if businesses remain open.
    • Governor Cuomo ordered all primary and secondary schools to close for at least two weeks, beginning March 18. New York City schools closed for eight weeks, and Mayor de Blasio stated that there is a chance schools will not resume this academic year.
    • European Union countries and others moved to limit international travel.

    It is clear that the plans we communicated just a few days ago must change to meet this new reality. We have known since last week that conditions would likely prevent a return to in-person instruction during spring term. Current guidance precludes in-person meetings of our larger courses until at least week seven. There would be significant challenges opening our dining halls and holding events. All indications are that the risks of infection and the need for social distancing are likely to remain high for most, if not all, of the upcoming term. Continuing to delay what is likely inevitable forces our international students to make gut-wrenching choices, and unnecessarily adds uncertainty for us all at a time when there is already extraordinary uncertainty in society.

    -

    After consulting with faculty and administrative leaders and our Board of Trustees, I am announcing with deep regret that we will not resume in-person classes during the spring term. We know that this decision is extremely disappointing to students, families, faculty, and staff. This is not how our seniors wanted their time at Union to end. For this we are very sorry. It remains our hope that we will be able to invite seniors and their families back to Union for a traditional commencement ceremony in June, and resume normal activities this summer, but that will depend on how the pandemic progresses and how state and federal guidance evolve.

    This change raises questions for many in our community. Given the complexity of some concerns, and the need for additional guidance from other entities, I regret that we cannot provide all answers now. We will get back to you with more answers as soon as we can. At present we can tell you the following:

    1. All instruction will be offered remotely. There will be no in-person classes. As planned, the exam period will end on June 11. Faculty will employ both synchronous and asynchronous instruction methods in their courses to maximize effectiveness and access. Moving to remote instruction is a significant change for students and faculty. The term will begin on March 30, as originally scheduled. Faculty will have the discretion to begin engaging course material right away, or to use week one to continue preparing online courses, testing new technology, and engaging with students in this new mode of teaching. Students should expect to receive email from faculty by March 27 regarding plans for week one.
    2. Students who left belongings on campus will have the opportunity to retrieve them. More details will be forthcoming from Student Affairs in the coming days.
    3. Room and board charges will be removed from spring term bills for all students who leave campus. Financial aid will be adjusted accordingly, and revised bills will be available online next week. Please note that bills will continue to be due by March 27. We thank those families who have already paid their spring bill. Refunds will be issued next week.
    4. Students who received permission to remain on campus for spring term, including international students, are asked to return home as soon as possible. Residence Life staff will be contacting students by March 23 to identify any additional campus housing needs for spring term.

    Employees

    1. The College will maintain minimal staffing levels to help ensure necessary campus operations while practicing social distancing. Faculty and staff, even those staff unable to work from home, will be paid at least until April 10. The College will communicate any changes to staffing plans beyond April 10 as soon as possible.
    2. Employees should not travel on behalf of Union at this time unless approved by their vice president. Employees should discuss travel plans for the duration of spring term with their supervisor, and eliminate all discretionary travel.

    I want to thank all of the faculty and staff who have been working so hard to make the best of an incredibly difficult situation. I have no doubt that creative solutions will emerge as we do all we can to deliver the highest quality educational program, and maintain the special community that is the hallmark of the Union College experience. Also, I want to thank the families and students who are facing these challenges with the wisdom, empathy and courage that we have come to expect from our Union family.

    This disease has already affected members of our community directly and indirectly. It will continue to do so as most of us take an unwelcome pause from campus life.

    I ask you to continue to keep one another close, as well as those beyond our Union community, as we continue to navigate uncharted waters together. Sous les lois de Minerve nous devenons tous frères et sœurs. I look forward to seeing you by video soon, and in person before long.

    Take care,

    David

  • March 15, 2020
  • March 14, 2020
  • March 13, 2020

    Dear Union College Community,

    Thank you for your patience and partnership as we all reacted to yesterday’s news that a Union College staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. We had prepared for many scenarios, but we knew that responding to an actual event would produce unanticipated challenges, delays in working with internal and external constituencies, and an inability to answer some important questions as quickly as all of us would like. Please know that there is a dedicated, compassionate team of people across the administration, faculty, and staff who are doing all we can to achieve expeditiously core health and safety goals, and our core academic mission. We will continue to post information here and update the FAQs as we have additional information.

    I am writing this morning with several updates:

    1. The Schenectady County Public Health Department has contacted all Union College community members who had known contact with the affected staff member. We appreciate the hard work and professionalism of our local partners who devoted extraordinary attention to identifying and contacting our community members, while responding to other coronavirus-related challenges in the county. If you have not been contacted, please continue to abide by social distancing and other public health guidelines, as this is an active pandemic. There are no additional recommended actions for those who might have had indirect contact with the staff member.

    2. In late 2018, we created Making U Possible, an initiative aimed at eliminating financial barriers to a full Union College experience. It is an extension of our long-standing commitment to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. We will use resources from the Making U Possible Persistence Fund to cover last-minute airline, train, and bus tickets, as well as any transportation change fees, for students who receive need-based financial aid, or who meet the criteria of our new Making U Possible Family Grants program. Student Affairs will be emailing all students with additional details shortly.

    3. We appreciate that for some students, the impediment to going home is not solely financial. For example, some international students face barriers to going home or to returning to the United States, and a small number of students do not have stable homes to which they can return. As was announced yesterday, students may petition to stay on campus.

    4. We value all of our staff and appreciate that this situation is creating a particular type of stress for student-facing staff, many of whom cannot perform their usual duties if students are not on campus. We are committing to honor all employment commitments to all staff through at least April 10. Some staff will continue with their normal duties, as not all students will be able to go home. Other staff will be on campus focused on other duties that match their skills and experience.

    5. I want to clarify that we are asking students to go home, and most faculty and staff to work remotely, because we seek to practice significant social distancing, and limit the spread of the virus. We have no reason to believe that it is unsafe for any individual to be on campus. The guidance we are receiving from public health officials suggests that our focus should be on:

    a. avoiding contact with individuals who are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath

    b. avoiding unnecessary close contact with other individuals

    c. washing hands thoroughly and often

    Thank you for your patience and partnership as we all adapt to our new reality. We will continue to send updates and respond to questions in the coming days. As always, you can find the latest information here. Please be sure to see the FAQs.

    Take care,

    David

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    David R. Harris
    President
    Union College

  • March 12, 2020

    Update - March 12 [3:33 p.m.]

    Earlier today I wrote to inform you that a Union College staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. I shared initial guidance from the Schenectady and New York Departments of Health, and said we would share more information as soon as possible. Based on additional guidance from the Departments of Health, and consultation with my senior staff and others in the Union and broader communities, we are taking the following steps:

    1. The affected Union College staff member had contact with a known number of individuals, and that list has been provided to the Department of Health. Individuals will be contacted by the Department of Health by noon tomorrow. All other members of the community should continue to abide by social distancing and other public health guidelines.
    2. Classes for the remainder of the week are cancelled.
    3. Affected physical spaces will receive deep cleaning consistent with public health guidelines.
    4. Staff and faculty are encouraged to work remotely until further notice. Those individuals who need to be on campus to sustain critical operations will be notified by their supervisors.
    5. There will be no in-person final exams this term. Faculty will be in touch with students regarding alternative plans.
    6. Spring term will begin on March 30, as scheduled, with all instruction delivered remotely through at least April 10. A decision about whether we will continue remote instruction after April 10, or resume on-campus courses, will be shared by April 6. More information about the status of returning to campus will be communicated as well.
    7. Face-to-face student activities, including athletics, will be suspended while instruction is being delivered remotely.
    8. To the extent possible, we are asking all students to leave campus by Sunday, March 15, at 5 pm. We also ask that students take all of their belongings, as if they were leaving at the end of the academic year. This will avoid challenges if conditions prevent us from resuming on-campus instruction during spring term. Students with extenuating circumstances should go to this page and petition to stay on campus.
    9. If you haven’t done so already, we ask that students, faculty, and staff please fill out this form about your spring break travel plans and internet access from home.

    I know that this message will leave you with many questions. In the coming hours and days we will answer those that we can, and continue to work on responses to those we cannot.

    Just as Union College is not alone in confronting this global pandemic, I know that none of us face this alone. This is the time to reflect on what it means to be brothers and sisters in Union.

    Sincerely,

    David

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    David R. Harris
    President
    Union College

    Update - March 12 [12:28 p.m.]

    I am writing to inform you that Union College was notified that a staff member of the College community has a confirmed case of COVID-19. The staff member resides off campus. This individual will remain isolated from the campus population until they have been cleared by public health officials.

    As a precaution, classes are suspended today, Thursday, March 12, and tomorrow, March 13 to allow Schenectady County Department of Health officials to complete their work in order to minimize public health risk. Information about final exams will be communicated later today.

    VIDEO: Union College President David R. Harris confirms a case of COVID-19

    In addition:

    • Practice elevated levels of social distancing including cancelling all events and in-person meetings.
    • We are not closing offices at this time.
    • Senior staff will reach out to their employees with additional guidance.
    • Students, faculty and staff who may have been exposed will be notified by the Schenectady County Department of Health.

    I want to reassure you that all appropriate precautions are being taken and that the College's COVID-19 task force continues to address related academic, student affairs and facilities concerns. We will communicate with our community again this afternoon.

    Additionally, as is the case with the regular cold and flu season, there are everyday measures we can take to protect our health and the health of our community, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

    Please exercise caution regarding the information you may see about the virus on social media. The Schenectady County Department of Health, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health, provides the only official confirmation of any communicable disease, including COVID-19.

    The College will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 with guidance from our local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The College cares deeply about all members of our community and we ask for your empathy and courage as we partner with experts to protect the health of our community.

    Sincerely,

    David

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    David R. Harris
    President
    Union College

  • March 10, 2020

    The Union College Coronavirus Task Force continues to assess the rapidly changing status of the COVID-19 outbreak. We understand that there are many rumors spreading across campus, which is understandable given that external conditions are changing rapidly, and much has yet to be decided. This is an unprecedented situation. We are meeting daily, considering options, and preparing for all likely contingencies. Our dual goals continue to be to keep our community safe, and to pursue our core mission.

    Highlights

    • Our current plan is to hold face-to-face classes and final exams as planned for the remainder of winter term. Any decision to begin spring term with any changes including possible online instruction will be announced by 3/12, so that all community members can plan accordingly before the winter term ends.
    • We need your assistance so that we will be ready should online classes be necessary. We ask that all students, faculty and staff fill out this form about your travel plans and internet access from home.
    • It is not uncommon for there to be misinformation being shared by people on campus. All decisions we make will be posted at the college's coronavirus homepage. Students, faculty, and staff will receive concurrent notification.
    • If you have symptoms consistent with coronavirus, please call Wicker Wellness Center (518) 388-6120 or your healthcare provider, before seeking in-person care.

    Online Classes

    If Union College starts the spring term offering classes remotely, students who are able will be asked to stay home and not return to campus during that time. To prepare for this possibility do the following:

    Students:

    • Plan to take anything with you when you leave for spring break that you would need if you were home for an extended period of time. This would include any items essential to carrying on your education from home, such as laptops, textbooks, notebooks, essential papers, etc.
    • Please fill out this form about your travel plans and internet access from home.

    Faculty

    • Begin to think about how you would teach your spring classes online.
    • Look for communications from IT about training and options for how to deliver classes remotely.
    • Please fill out this form about your travel plans and internet access from home.

    Staff

    • Supervisors and department heads are assessing telecommuting and staffing needs.
    • Please fill out this form about your travel plans and internet access from home.

    We understand that were we to move to online classes for the start of spring term, it would be challenging and raise a number of additional questions. We will continue to communicate with you and address those questions over the next few days.

    New Travel Advisories

    We request that everyone fill out this form regarding their planned travel over spring break.

    Based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Union College is taking the following new actions:

    • Asking all faculty, staff and students to defer cruise ship travel.
    • All faculty, staff and students are asked to cancel or postpone all unnecessary travel on behalf of the College.

    Students - If you are traveling to a level 3 country please contact student affairs at cvtravel@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Faculty and staff - if you are traveling to a level 3 country, please contact Human Resources at hr@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Until further notice, no College-sponsored/funded travel to a level-3 country is permitted. College-sponsored travel to level-2 countries affected by coronavirus will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the vice president of the relevant unit.

    Health Services

    We would like to remind everyone that if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with coronavirus (fever, cough,shortness of breath) you should stay home or in your residence. Students: please contact health services by phone. Do not go to the health center without calling first. Faculty and staff should contact your primary care physician. Many local physicians are requesting that you call before visiting their clinic or office.

    The following guidance was previously shared with campus over the past week:

    Community members should follow the illness prevention guidelines detailed at the end of this message. In addition, we are recommending that community members practice social distancing, which includes:

    • Avoiding unnecessary physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.)
    • Staying home or in your residence if you are sick
    • Reducing participation in discretionary group activities (especially those greater than 50 people)

    Foreign Travel Guidance

    Union College is requesting that members of our community avoid travel to countries that have been given a level 2 (currently Japan) or 3 (currently China, South Korea, Italy, Iran) travel advisory by the CDC. These advisories change frequently, so please check the CDC site before making final travel plans, and before traveling.

    Per CDC guidance, any community member who does travel to a level 3 country (including airport layovers) will be expected to self-quarantine away from campus for a 14-day period after returning to the United States and will not be permitted on campus during that time. Academic accommodation of any resulting student absences from classes is not guaranteed and is up to the discretion of their faculty. Any students finding themselves in such a situation should contact the Office of the Dean of Students and their individual professors immediately.

    All students currently studying away have been offered the opportunity to return to the United States early without academic penalty. Those students who choose to return early will not be returning to campus until after the spring break.

    Domestic Travel

    The situation in the United States is changing rapidly. While there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel, we encourage all community members to stay abreast of conditions in their destinations and take all recommended precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

  • March 8, 2020

    On March 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency aimed at containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He also announced that there are 13 additional cases in New York State, including two cases in Saratoga County, which is the county north of Schenectady County. The infected individuals are on quarantine.

    Union College’s Coronavirus Task Force (see membership below) has been meeting daily in recent weeks and continuously monitoring developments in the global outbreak to ensure that the College is ready to take all necessary actions to protect the health of our students, faculty and staff, while continuing to pursue our core mission.

    The task force met last night to review the latest developments and consider actions. We continue to coordinate our efforts with Schenectady County Public Health Services, the New York State Department of Health and other community partners. In addition, we have been in contact with and monitoring the response and activities of our NY6 colleagues, CICU and many other institutions of higher education across the country.

    We continue to recommend that community members follow the illness prevention guidelines detailed at the end of this message. In addition, we are recommending that community members practice social distancing, which includes:

    • Avoiding unnecessary physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.)
    • Staying home or in your residence if you are sick
    • Reducing participation in discretionary group activities (especially those greater than 50 people)

    Until further notice, we will continue to conduct all classes in-person and all college offices will remain open. In addition, we are actively planning for and prepared to take a number of actions as warranted by changing guidance and conditions. Those may include:

    • Moving classes to synchronous online delivery
    • Cancelling large gatherings
    • Further restricting travel by Union personnel
    • Teleworking for all non-essential personnel
    • Restricting visits to campus

    The situation is changing rapidly. You will receive regular communications from the task force in the coming days. We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our Union community as we work together to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

    Please continue to monitor the Union College coronavirus webpage for updates and links to resources. If you have additional questions, students should email Student Affairs at cvtravel@union.edu and faculty and staff should email Human Resources at hr@union.edu. Although we may not be able to answer all of your questions immediately, we will do our best to ensure we are addressing your questions in future messages and guidance.

    Union College Coronavirus Task Force

    Michele Angrist - Dean of Studies

    Charles Assini - College Counsel

    Fran’Cee Brown-McClure - Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students

    Darcy Czajka - Chief of Staff

    Elizabeth Dobson-Davis - Director, Environmental Health and Safety

    Michele Gibson - Vice President for Administration and Finance

    Gretchel Hathaway - Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

    Chris Hayen - Director of Campus Safety

    Maura Mack Hisgen - Interim Director of Development

    Matt Malatesta - Vice President for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment

    Angela Stefanatos - Director, Health Services

    Strom Thacker - Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty

    Tom Torello - Chief Communications Officer

    __________________________________________________________________

    Please see the following guidance and information that was sent on 3/5/20

    Foreign Travel Guidance

    Union College is requesting that members of our community avoid travel to countries that have been given a level 2 (currently Japan) or 3 (currently China, South Korea, Italy, Iran) travel advisory by the CDC. These advisories change frequently, so please check the CDC site before making final travel plans, and before traveling.

    Per CDC guidance, any community member who does travel to a level 3 country (including airport layovers) will be expected to self-quarantine away from campus for a 14-day period after returning to the United States and will not be permitted on campus during that time. Academic accommodation of any resulting student absences from classes is not guaranteed and is up to the discretion of their faculty. Any students finding themselves in such a situation should contact the Office of the Dean of Students and their individual professors immediately.

    All students currently studying away have been offered the opportunity to return to the United States early without academic penalty. Those students who choose to return early will not be returning to campus until after the spring break.


    We request that anyone planning to travel to a level 2 or 3 country fill out this form. Please note that this situation is evolving rapidly, and the travel rating of a given country could change with no advance notice, even while you are visiting there.

    Students - If you are traveling to a level 3 country please contact student affairs at cvtravel@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Faculty and staff - if you are traveling to a level 3 country, please contact Human Resources at hr@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Until further notice, no College-sponsored/funded travel to a level-3 country is permitted. College-sponsored travel to level-2 countries affected by coronavirus will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the vice president of the relevant unit.

    Domestic Travel

    The situation in the United States is changing rapidly. While there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel, we encourage all community members to stay abreast of conditions in their destinations and take all recommended precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

  • March 5, 2020

    With the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, we will continue to provide you with updated information and guidance. Today, we would like to share updated information on travel, spring break and dining.

    Union College is asking all members of our community to make informed and prudent decisions regarding travel over our spring break. Please monitor travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of State.

    Foreign Travel Guidance Union College is requesting that members of our community avoid travel to countries that have been given a level 2 (currently Japan) or 3 (currently China, South Korea, Italy, Iran) travel advisory by the CDC. These advisories change frequently, so please check the CDC site before making final travel plans, and before traveling. Per CDC guidance, any community member who does travel to a level 3 country (including airport layovers) will be expected to self-quarantine away from campus for a 14-day period after returning to the United States and will not be permitted on campus during that time. Academic accommodation of any resulting student absences from classes is not guaranteed and is up to the discretion of their faculty. Any students finding themselves in such a situation should contact the Office of the Dean of Students and their individual professors immediately. We request that anyone planning to travel to a level 2 or 3 country fill out this form. Please note that this situation is evolving rapidly, and the travel rating of a given country could change with no advance notice, even while you are visiting there.

    Students - If you are traveling to a level 3 country please contact student affairs at cvtravel@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Faculty and staff - if you are traveling to a level 3 country, please contact Human Resources at hr@union.edu for guidance for returning to campus.

    Until further notice, no College-sponsored/funded travel to a level-3 country is permitted. College-sponsored travel to level-2 countries affected by coronavirus will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the vice president of the relevant unit.

    Domestic Travel The situation in the United States is changing rapidly. While there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel, we encourage all community members to stay abreast of conditions in their destinations and take all recommended precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

    Spring Break on Campus Students are welcome to stay on campus over spring break if they choose. Any student who plans to stay on campus must register with residential life.

    Dining As a precaution, Union College dining will be temporarily moving away from self service/buffet style dining. As a result there will be some changes in how you receive meals in our dining spaces. This is being done out of an abundance of caution and consideration for the community’s well-being. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

  • March 3, 2020

    Two cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in New York. The increasing number of reported cases in the United States make it clear that the virus is spreading at a rapid pace. Union College places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of our community and we want to assure our students, parents, faculty and staff that we are taking proactive measures to ensure that we are prepared should the virus directly impact our campus. Our emergency response and crisis management teams were activated over a month ago and are meeting frequently to put in place contingency plans.

    We are reaching out to our community partners to coordinate response efforts and we are in frequent contact with the New York State Department of Health.

    Our study abroad programs are one of our most important and impactful academic experiences at Union. Over the past weekend the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for institutions of higher education recommending that due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, they reconsider their current and planned study abroad programs. Based on this new guidance and other information from the U. S. Department of State and our partners abroad, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our study abroad programs (Florence, Germany and London) for the spring term.

    We know that this is very disappointing to the students who were participating in these programs. We are committed to working with those students to minimize the disruption to their educational experience and to explore opportunities to study abroad at a later date. The Office of International Programs is in contact with all students who were planning to study abroad during the spring term and those who are currently abroad. If anyone has any questions regarding study abroad programs, please contact International Programs at intlprograms@union.edu or (518) 388-6002.

    Below please find important health and safety information that we shared last week. Information on how to prevent the spread of the virus is also being distributed throughout campus.

  • February 28, 2020

    Based on information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the U. S. Department of State and our partners abroad, the College has decided to cancel its spring 2020 study-abroad program in Florence, Italy. We have not changed plans for our other two programs in Germany and England. As this situation evolves globally, we are evaluating each program individually and in real time. The Office of International Programs is in contact with all students who are planning to study abroad during the spring term about the status of their program and will continue to stay in close contact with these students. If anyone has any questions regarding study abroad programs, please contact International Programs at intlprograms@union.edu or (518) 388-6002.

    Below please find important health and safety information that we shared yesterday. We will continue to provide updates and information to campus. Please visit union.edu/coronavirus to view the most up-to-date information and resources.

  • February 27, 2020

    The College’s Health Services and administration are actively monitoring the information, protocols, and recommendations being communicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health. We have no reason to believe that our campus is at risk at this time. Union College’s emergency response and crisis management teams are developing contingency plans should the need arise. Union College has created a resource page where we will post any updates regarding the situation.

    SPRING BREAK TRAVEL

    With spring break only a few weeks away we are recommending that faculty, students and staff planning to travel outside of the country monitor travel advisories from the CDC and the State Department. We ask that anyone traveling to a country with a level 2 orl 3 advisory from the CDC voluntarily report that travel using this form. The information you provide will allow us to assist you with specific resources or guidance.

    STUDY ABROAD

    Union has a small number of students studying abroad this term. We continue to monitor the conditions in those regions.

    Union has spring-term programs planned in Italy, Germany and England. We are evaluating each program individually. The office of international programs is in contact with all students who are planning to study abroad during the spring term about the status of their program.

    ILLNESS PREVENTION
    There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    Students - If you have symptoms please contact Health Services at (518) 388-6120 or your primary care physician. For general questions about the coronavirus please contact the New York State Department of Health.

    Employees –If you have symptoms please contact your primary care physician. For general questions about the coronavirus please contact the New York State Department of Health.

    SUPPORT SERVICES

    We understand that this situation may be troubling to many in our community. The Counseling Center (518) 388-6161) is available to students who are looking for support at this time. Faculty and staff can access resources through the employee assistance plan.

    This is a rapidly developing situation. We will continue to monitor the status and update campus on any developments. Please continue to take all recommended precautionary measures.

  • Important Information Regarding Novel Coronavirus - January 30, 2020

    At this time Union College does not have any confirmed or suspected cases of the Novel Coronavirus.

    The College’s Health Services and administration are actively monitoring the information, protocols, and recommendations being communicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health. We have no reason to believe that our campus is at risk at this time.

    Some individuals in our community have received a hoax message stating that there is a confirmed case of coronavirus on campus and giving a link to a supposed news story. Delete the message if you receive it. Do not click the link in the message.

    It is troubling that some would use this very serious global public health crisis to generate fear in our community. Also troubling are the global xenophobic and racist messages communicated in person or on social media that allege all individuals of Asian descent may present a risk. We are confident that our community will rise above this kind of behavior. If individuals would like to talk with someone about insensitive or exclusive responses to the global public health crisis, please contact the Office of Intercultural Affairs at (518) 388-6030.

    ILLNESS PREVENTION

    The recommendations for protecting yourself from this virus are essentially the same as we have communicated for protecting against the flu:

    • Wash your hands often, especially after shaking hands with others (alcohol-based hand disinfectants may be used if there is no access to soap and water);
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
    • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow if you do not have a tissue;
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially after contact with others;
    • Keep a three-foot [one-meter] distance between yourself and anyone who is ill;
    • Stay home if you have a fever and influenza-like symptoms and consider seeing your primary care provider depending on the severity and length of your symptoms. Do not return to work or school until you've had 24 hours without a fever. This is important to help limit the spread of the illness.

    If you have any medical questions or concerns regarding the virus, please contact Health Services at (518) 388-6120 or your primary care physician.

    SUPPORT SERVICES

    We understand that this situation may be troubling to many in our community. The Counseling Center ((518) 388-6147) is available to students who are looking for support at this time. Faculty and staff can access resources through the employee assistance plan.

    This is a rapidly developing situation. We will continue to monitor the status and update campus on any developments. Please continue to take all recommended precautionary measures.

  • Health Update: 2019 – 2020 Flu Season - January 24, 2020

    Dear Campus Community,

    We are currently seeing a significant number of students who are experiencing symptoms of influenza and influenza-like illness. The following information is meant to be helpful in preventing the spread of the flu and to ensure that you get the proper care as soon as possible should you experience symptoms. Although there is much attention in the media about the Coronavirus, we have no reason to believe that our Union community is at risk at this time.

    As always, it is good to be aware of symptoms and precautionary measures to ensure the health of our community.

    Symptoms of influenza:

    · Fever or Feeling Feverish/chills

    · Cough

    · Sore throat

    · Runny or stuffy nose

    · Muscle or body aches

    · Headaches

    · Fatigue (tiredness)

    · Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea but this is more common in children than adults.

    How flu spreads:

    Flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

    What to do if sick with the flu:

    Students and employees with flu symptoms should stay home. Ill members of our community should limit contact with others who are not sick. Those with flu-like symptoms should not return to class/work until they no longer have a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

    Contact your instructors or supervisor. It is important that you connect with your instructors or supervisors to discuss the implications of your absence(s), preferably before missing a class or work. Health Services does not provide documentation of student medical illness/injury.

    Illness varies greatly among individuals. We expect individuals to take a reasonable and responsible approach to their responsibilities while keeping in mind the public health and safety of themselves and others.

    In the event of a diagnosis of influenza made by Health Center staff, a notice will be sent to the Dean of Students Office who will in turn, notify your professors.

    Everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of germs that cause many different illnesses and may offer some protection against the flu. You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, we recommend that community members take these precautions:

    Get a flu shot. It is not too late to get a flu shot. There are still weeks of flu season to come. Flu shots are available at most local pharmacies and should be covered by your health insurance; please call in advance for availability. Remember that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect it against influenza virus infection. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it expects this year’s effectiveness rate to be close to 37%.

    Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve, and avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Be sure to get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.

    Monitor your health. Flu symptoms include fever of 100°F or higher with cough and/or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea. Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

    Seek medical attention if you have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100°F. If you feel worse after being treated for 3-4 days, you should return to Health Services for a recheck to make sure that they have not developed a secondary infection. Those with chronic health conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes or complications should notify Health Services.

    Students - Health Services is open Monday 8:30AM-8PM, Tuesday-Friday from 8:30AM-5PM, closed for lunch from 12-1PM.

    Employees – please contact your medical provider.

    In case of emergency, please call Campus Safety ((518) 388-6911) or go to a hospital.

    Additional information regarding this season’s flu outbreak and the Coronavirus may be found at:

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

    Our goal is for everyone to have a healthy and productive term. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns at (518) 388-6120 or uchealthcenter@union.edu

    Thank you,

    Health Services Staff