Daily COVID-19 Update: May 11, 2020

Dear Bereans,

This is the update for Monday, May 11, 2020.

Madison County update

The County is reporting two additional cases for a total so far of 35.

Commonwealth of Kentucky update

(This one is important, Bereans.  It is long, but this is the necessary guidance, taking effect today, for all institutions and organizations that are continuing to operate during the pandemic.  It also is somewhat of a template for the guidelines we are expecting to have to meet if we reopen fully for the Fall semester.  We need to start getting accustomed to this regime.)

Guidance re: Kentucky “Healthy at Work” Guidelines – Summer 2020

Applicable at Berea College, beginning May 11, 2020

As part of the phased reopening of business in the Commonwealth, mandatory guidelines have been issued by the governor’s office.  These will affect essential businesses that have been allowed to remain since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky, including colleges and universities. Many of these minimum requirements, such as social distancing, teleworking where possible, etc., are things we have already been practicing here at Berea College. You can find the full list here.

There are a couple of these new requirements now coming into play which require your attention and compliance as members of the Berea community in order to assure we all do our best to keep everyone healthy.

Use of Masks

Businesses, organizations, and other entities are to ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that their employees, volunteers, and contractors wear a cloth mask (a surgical or N95 mask is not required).

Employees (including student workers), volunteers, and contractors are not required to wear a mask when masking would create a serious health or safety hazard to them or when working alone in an enclosed space.  We believe most essential employees and students currently on campus already have been provided a cloth mask at this point, but anyone lacking a mask should contact their supervisor for one.  Students may also contact the Student Life office. We have 2,000 reusable cloth masks currently on order and, as part of on-going logistics planning, we will be ordering many more in order to supply students and employees who have not yet returned to campus.  All employees (including student workers) should now wear their masks in their workplaces unless working alone per the governor’s guidelines or if they have a documented health or safety concern related to wearing one.  If you have such a concern, you will need to inform your supervisor, who will work with Human Resources for a solution.  For student workers, your supervisor will work with Human Resources and the Labor Office.

As a residential college, where students live and work in close proximity with one another and staff, students will be expected to wear masks whenever they are: (i) outside of their residences, (ii) at work, (iii) in the Alumni Building, or (iv) elsewhere, when within six feet of other persons.  For mask issues involving students outside of their workplaces, contact the Student Life office.

All employees and students on campus should keep a mask with them at all times so as to be prepared in the event of unanticipated contact with others.

Non-essential employees that come to campus should make arrangements to obtain a mask either before coming to campus or immediately upon arrival.  Please contact your supervisor or Human Resources for assistance.

Employees and students should wear face masks for any interactions with others or while in common travel areas of campus (e.g., hallways, conference rooms, bathrooms, stairwells, entries, and exits).

Efforts must be made to limit in-person discussions even for employees or students in the same building.  Social distancing remains a key element of a safe campus.

Employees and students should sanitize frequently touched surfaces and areas a minimum of twice daily (e.g., door handles, countertops, credit card machines, and shared computers, just to mention a few).

Daily temperature/health checks:

Entities must require employees to undergo daily temperature and health checks; these checks may be either self-administered or administered by the entities prior to workplace entry. Self-administered temperature and health checks may be done at home (or in a student’s campus residence) and this is the direction we will take.  All employees, including student labor, working on campus should self-screen at least once every 24 hours and contact their supervisor prior to reporting to work on any day if they answer “yes” to any of the following questions since their last day at work or last time on campus:

  • Fever (100.5° F or higher)?
  • A new cough?
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Sore throat?
  • New muscle aches or headache?
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. diarrhea, vomiting, etc.)?
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills?
  • A new loss of taste or smell?
  • Is there anyone in your household who is ill or has been diagnosed with COVID- 19?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone who is ill, shown symptoms, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” the employee or student worker should not report to work but must contact their supervisor, who will work with Human Resources to communicate the next steps to take.  This will include identification of all persons with whom the affected worker has had recent contact known to have had recent contact per the College’s Pandemic Plan (an excerpt of which follows this memo).

These steps, as prescribed by the Governor’s Office, are necessary for all of us as Bereans and Kentuckians to assure we limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus for the benefit of all.  Your cooperation is expected and appreciated.

As Gov. Cuomo (NY) says every day, Stay Home, Stop the Spread, Save Lives,

Lyle Roelofs, President