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Message from Provost Rowlands: September 1

To: Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Provost Sue Ott Rowlands
Date:  9/1/20
Subject: Update from COVID-19 Preparedness Team

Dear Campus Community,

You may have seen the recent reports of schools and colleges struggling with COVID-19 hotspots within their populations. So far, our campus has been doing a great job of following the Healthy@NKU measures, and–at this point–we have not had large out breaks. However, we are being vigilant and monitoring the situation closely, as is the Commonwealth.

NKU has now created an online form to report positive COVID-19 cases for faculty, staff and students to assure uniform reporting and record keeping, while also protecting people’s privacy. All of the information reported will be housed in a HIPAA compliant, secure server and will be used to assist the regional health departments with contact tracing. Please know that no personal identifying information will ever be released to the campus community or to the public at large. We will use reported data to create a new entry on the NKU COVID-19 data dashboard that will provide rolling 7-day averages of our total number of cases starting next week. Please know protecting our campus community’s privacy is of the utmost importance, and we kept this top of mind while creating this very simple reporting form.

In addition to the questions about the numbers of positive cases, we have had a lot of questions asked about when someone should quarantine if they have been exposed. According to the CDC, you should quarantine if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, excluding those who have had the virus in the past three months. The CDC defines close contact as:

  • You were within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

As the COVID-19 environment continues to evolve throughout the fall, the President’s Cabinet and the COVID-19 Preparedness Team will stay updated on our campus and regional numbers. The university has developed criteria to guide the decision to pivot to remote operations as needed. To read the document that outlines the criteria, please click here. NKU also has updated its Emergency Action Plan to include social distancing measures. Universities are required to have these action plans for all types of situations, like natural disasters and other emergencies. To read through the updated plan, visit the protocols tab on NKU’s Coronavirus Preparedness page.

You can still do your part to keep the campus community healthy by continuing to follow our Norse Nine principles and practice proper health habits, like wearing a facial covering and washing your hands. And remember the following resources available to support you:

  • If you received a notification from the Healthy@NKU app to stay home or if you’re sick, we created two flow charts–one for students and one for faculty and staff–that explain the next steps. If you are sick, contact Health Services or your healthcare provider.
  • For assistance with childcare challenges, visit HR’s webpage for links and information on resources available for parents, including the YMCA’s Scholastic Support Center for virtual learning. 
  • You still have time to pick up your free facial coverings at the at the Student Union Information Desk on the 2nd Floor. They are available to all current faculty, staff and students from 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. Remember that you can pick up the NKU branded facial coverings, even if you have already received the plain ones.

We also know many of you are looking forward to the long Labor Day weekend and enjoying the last of the activities of summer. Please keep in mind social distancing measures as you celebrate this weekend, and we look forward to seeing everyone well rested and ready to return to school and work next week.

Sincerely,

Sue Ott Rowlands
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Northern Kentucky University
859.572.5788
sottrowlands@nku.edu