WMU creates ‘COVID-19 Task Force’ in response to coronavirus threat

WMU's Sindecuse Health Center.

The Office of the Provost informed the campus community of a newly created ‘COVID-19 Task Force’ in an email sent to faculty and staff on March 10.

The announcement came hours before Governor Whitmer announced the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan and declared a state of emergency. 

The task force consists of several vice presidents and cabinet members, representatives from business and finance, facilities, general counsel, the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, marketing and strategic communications, the president’s office, public safety, Sindecuse Health Center and student affairs. 

Throughout the day the task force monitors domestic and global news regarding the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, public health guidance from the CDC and Kalamazoo County health officials, reports from national higher education-related organizations and the Michigan government as well as state group responses.

Currently, the task force is discussing key issues related to the potential spread of coronavirus on Western Michigan’s campus. This includes events that would escalate the university’s response to the outbreak, travel restrictions, the value of social distancing, and the potential transition to remote coursework. 

“As this situation continues to unfold, we will come to decisions based on keeping our campus safe. And we want to hear from you, realizing that the sound thinking and resilience of our campus community will help us endure through this difficult period,” the email read.

The email also addressed the issue of an employee in the Clifford Center, located in Brown Hall, who had exhibited cold systems. They have been evaluated and cleared by clinicians at Sindecuse Health Center.

“As a reminder, it is influenza season and it is not unusual for people to become ill with any number of ailments that are not the novel coronavirus. The health center has a protocol in place, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, to evaluate individual cases and identify a combination of symptoms and exposure that would elevate concern,” the email read.

Questions, thoughts and comments can be sent to info@wmich.edu or call (269) 387-8400.

This is an ongoing story and updates will be posted as soon as they are made available.

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