6 professors self-quarantining due to coronavirus fears

Jennifer Greenlee

Six WSU professors have moved their classes online for a minimum of the next week for fear of the coronavirus as of March 11.

Several professors on the WSU campus have chosen to voluntarily quarantine themselves and host their courses online for the near future. The professors are concerned that holding traditional, in-person lectures could potentially lead to the spread of the corona virus between themselves and their students. (Wikimedia)
Several professors on the WSU campus have chosen to voluntarily quarantine themselves and host their courses online for the near future. The professors are concerned that holding traditional, in-person lectures could potentially lead to the spread of the corona virus between themselves and their students. (Wikimedia)

After returning from spring break, five professors have decided to begin teaching their classes from home amidst the first case of COVID-19 being diagnosed in Utah. A sixth announced on March 11 they would not be holding classes for a week.

The 30th National Undergraduate Literature Conference was also canceled at 4 p.m. on March 10 due to concerns of an outbreak in Utah, considering the hosting of a public event may have provided an opportunity for many people to be infected.

All university trips that were scheduled to countries with a CDC level three or four travel advisory have been canceled until at least April 20. Other university trips will be individually evaluated by the university.

The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Layton, Utah, while the second diagnosed case is currently across the street at McKay-Dee hospital.

So far, all cases have affected those who have traveled out of the country, and there has been no person-to-person transfer within the state.

After these cases were identified, a task force was formed at the university in order to plan for what could happen if the virus begins to spread in the area and to determine school and event closures.

According to Police Lt. Michael Davies, who is helping to coordinate plans and new protocols as the coronavirus spreads, “We’re following the guidance of our state and local health departments. So, I talk to them regularly. We’re waiting for them to see what the guidance from the CDC is for institutions of higher education and to work with those local health departments because every local area is different.”

Those who have been out of the country, especially to those countries that are under Travel 3 or 4 advisories, are cautioned to practice self-quarantining for at least 14 days. Those who have gone to an area with community spread are being told to practice social distancing.

Social distancing, defined by the Utah Department of Health, includes “staying away from mass gatherings (e.g., stadiums, theaters, shopping centers, schools, community events, church), avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, taxi, TRAX, ride share) and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others.”

UDOH State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said in a press release that anyone who has been in contact with someone who has a positive case or has been to another country should talk to their healthcare provider about being tested if they develop symptoms.

Students who have traveled to level three or four travel advisory regions should contact their department and professors to address completing their coursework remotely.