Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
There remain no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Clark campus.
We know that many of you have questions about the potential for campus closure and online classes, and write with an update on the situation at this time.
We are guided in our decision-making by a singular focus on the welfare and well-being of our students, staff, and faculty. The guidance we have received thus far from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is that the risk to our community is currently low. We are monitoring and assessing the situation and public health advisories continuously and have plans in place should circumstances change. We are also mindful that the impacts of University decisions on these matters are far-reaching, especially for a place such as Clark that is blessed with a diversity of students from across the country and around the world, and from many different situations and backgrounds. This is a time for Clark to be at its very best and we want our students in particular to know that all of us, including the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, administration, and our caring community are doing all that we can to support you.
Based on the current risk assessment, the University remains open and there are no near-term plans to close residence halls or direct students to leave campus. Although we currently expect the campus to remain open throughout the remainder of the semester, we must stress that we are in an extremely complex situation, with the COVID-19 risk profile evolving daily.
The University has plans in place to mitigate the impact on both students and the larger Clark community of changes that may be necessary in Clark’s situation. Classes are being taught as normal at the current time. But in light of the possibility of future changes, we also are working with our faculty on plans for course delivery should we have to cancel in-person classes. For your information, we include here a link to our faculty Academic Continuity plan, which the University will activate if needed.
We will keep the campus fully informed of any changes in Clark’s situation and, at a minimum, will update you on this particular matter — even if there is no change — again before the week’s end.
Many other colleges and universities face the question of spring breaks that start this weekend, which has necessitated their making urgent and abrupt decisions on sending their students home, among other matters. With the return of Clark students from spring break complete, we want to thank and commend our students, faculty, and staff for the responsible way in which the many complications of that transition this year were handled. We are especially grateful to you for adhering to health protocols.
We continue to urge all members of the Clark Community to follow the CDC’s recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. These steps are listed on our dedicated webpage, but we provide them here again as it is so important to follow them:
- 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 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. For information about handwashing, see the CDC’s handwashing website.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- If you have health concerns: Students should contact University Health Services by phone (do not visit). Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician by phone (do not visit). Further guidance for students for contacting University Health Services, including how to do so after hours, is available here.
We have the following further announcement for faculty and staff:
- Following the guidance issued by Governor Baker, we are at this time canceling all non-essential University travel within the United States and internationally. Detailed guidance on the definition of non-essential travel and associated protocols will be sent to faculty and staff shortly.
As always, please continue to care for each other. The latest Clark information is always available on our COVID-19 web page. If you have further questions or concerns, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David P. Angel, President
Paul Wykes, Chair, COVID-19 Response Team