We have substantial progress to report on our preparations for, and preventive measures against, a potential Corona Virus outbreak on our campus. As of today, the closest reported CV case is in Kalona, near Iowa City, but we all want to stay prepared. So…First: We have temporarily closed the Rec Center in consultation with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Because the Rec Center was already closed to non-campus guests, the likelihood of it bringing outside infectious agents was already small. But right now, “small” isn’t good enough.
To help compensate for the loss, we are developing a “Virtual” Rec Center with online fitness sessions, dance classes, yoga, and more — to assist and encourage you to stay fit.
Chris Grace and Haley Spitzfaden are cooking up a veritable smôrgasbôrd of recreational activities that can be done at home online — or in small groups, while observing appropriate social distancing:
These activities include Virtual Travel, Virtual Museum Tours, Foreign Language Classes, Movie Events (both online and in small groups), and a great deal more.
And, there is further relief in sight as Spring arrives this coming week with warm and sunny weather. (Sun and exercise are good for you! Go walking or jogging!)
Second — Major Update: Most classes will be available on Monday for online, in-room delivery. For now at least, teachers will be teaching live in their classrooms, and students are welcome to attend for that optimal face-to-face educational experience (while observing appropriate spacing). But now, students are also welcome to join virtually, live from their rooms. Attendance (either physically or virtually) is required, in accordance with MIU’s normal teaching policies. This in-room access has been set up very quickly as a precautionary measure, but will become mandatory in the event of a CV presence in Fairfield.
Please watch for an announcement from your teacher this weekend, containing instructions for how to connect to your class online.
Further measures: As you may know, we have restricted travel outside of Fairfield; encouraged employees to work from home when and where appropriate; closed the Dome Market Cafe; and added hand-washing stations, more dining space, and more personnel to our food service (including professional servers).
We have also set up residential facilities as ‘isolation accommodations’ in the event of suspected illness, and more. We are meeting or exceeding all the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Health.
A few have complained that we are being overly cautious, causing unnecessary inconvenience. Others have felt we are not doing enough.
But we believe, based on all the data and professional guidelines we have, we are acting responsibly and in the best interests of all members of our campus community.
Your cooperation is appreciated and vital — vital not just for your own health, but for the health and safety of the entire community.
Our policies are evolving as circumstances change. So please check these messages carefully.
With my warm wishes to all,
John Hagelin, President