Informational Updates Regarding Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (Jan. 31-March 25, 2020)

Posted February 03, 2020, 6:29PM

March 25, 2020

Dear NCCU Community,

In response to ongoing COVID-19 developments, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel announced today that the City of Durham has issued a stay-at-home order for City of Durham residents that takes effect on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 6 p.m., and remains in effect through April 30, 2020. The order is available here: https://durhamnc.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2296. Educational institutions are exempted from the order.

The university has been proactive in responding to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic with guidance from the University of North Carolina System. Residence halls were closed as of Friday, March 20, 2020, with a limited number of exceptions granted to students, and NCCU’s Office of Human Resources provided guidance to faculty and staff on teleworking, denoting mandatory employees and administrative leave on March 20, 2020. The University of North Carolina System’s full Human Resources guidance is available via myEOL here: https://myeol.nccu.edu/sites/default/files/2020-03/UNC-COVID-19-Special-HR-Provisions.pdf.

Preventative measures should be taken as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local health officials.

For more information, please continue to visit our website (www.nccu.edu/coronavirus) for additional updates.

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., Chancellor

March 17, 2020

Greetings Eagles:

COVID-19 continues to touch nearly every aspect of our lives and the operation of our university. With each day, we are taking new precautions to protect the well-being of our community members.

Today, the University of North Carolina System issued updated guidance for System institutions that we will enact immediately regarding our campus residence halls, university gatherings and faculty and staff work and leave provisions. Updated information is noted below.

  • Residence Halls: Beginning today, March 17, we are instructing all students who occupy university housing to remain at, or return to, their permanent residence, no later than 5 p.m., on Friday, March 20. The university will review and grant a limited number of exceptions. Students who receive an exception to reside on campus are required to undergo a health screening. Click here to complete the Housing Exception Request Form; exceptions must be requested by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Criteria for exceptions are defined as follows:
    • Inability to travel to, or return from, permanent residence due to travel restrictions 
    • Lack of other available housing options
    • Unsafe domestic situation at permanent residence
    • Significant financial hardship
    • Presence required for in-person instruction (laboratory, clinical, practicum, internship, field experience, etc.) required for graduation
  • Restrictions on Gatherings: NCCU will cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 people or more in a single room or space. Events or gatherings of 50 or more people will be reviewed and approved by the chancellor. Please remember that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The White House recommend against gathering of more than 10 people.
  • Faculty and Staff Work and Leave Provisions: The UNC System and the University are adjusting our recent guidance about remote and alternative work options. Effective immediately and until further notice, only mandatory employees who need to report to work on campus should do so. For this COVID-19 issue, the UNC System has changed the definition of mandatory employee to: employees who are directed by their supervisor to report to work, at a designated university worksite other than their personal residence, at specific dates and times. All non-mandatory employees - including temporary employees and student workers - will continue to be assigned work and will be expected to work remotely to the fullest extent possible. Special leave provisions have also been enacted in response to the COVID-19 issue through March 31, 2020. For more information on the new COVID-19 work or leave provisions, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 919-530-6334.

We understand how disconcerting this is for our students and want to reassure you that we are here to help you during this transition. If you find yourself in need of emotional support, Counseling Services remains a resource to you. Faculty and staff can utilize the Employee Assistance Program through our Office of Human Resources: http://legacy.nccu.edu/formsdocs/proxy.cfm?file_id=3092.

Please continue to visit https://www.nccu.edu/coronavirus for information.

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., Chancellor

--

March 16, 2020

Dear North Carolina Central University Community:

As you know, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order on Saturday, March 15, 2020, that prohibits mass gatherings and directs the statewide closure of K-12 public schools to limit the spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). A link to the executive order can be found here.

I, along with chancellors from the other 16 University of North Carolina System institutions, have been in regular communication with System President Bill Roper and UNC System leadership. Additionally, NCCU’s Pandemic Team continues to meet and review guidance provided by President Roper, as well as health authorities.

As noted in the message I sent on Friday, NCCU is open and operational. Spring break has been extended and classes will begin on March 23. NCCU will transition all classes (undergraduate, graduate, certificate, professional) to online delivery. Courses that are currently online will continue to be delivered in that format. Courses that are currently being taught in face-to-face format will be moved to Blackboard. Delivery of instruction for courses with laboratory or clinical components is being evaluated and updates will be disseminated to the campus by the Office of the Provost. 

Additionally, gatherings of 100 people or more are prohibited. NCCU will enforce this measure to ensure our community is not in violation of this order. This will include all student, faculty and staff gatherings, and other campus activities, and will greatly assist us in safely practicing social distancing, which health officials recommend to help halt the spread of the disease among large populations. Any exceptions need to be reviewed by me or Interim Provost Dr. Yolanda Banks Anderson and approved by the UNC System Office.

As a reminder: All students living in residence halls who are currently away from campus for spring break should NOT return to the campus at this time and are invited to return back to their halls on Sunday, March 22. Students will receive further guidance from the vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

Faculty and staff were informed on March 13, 2020, via a communications to campus that the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources issued guidance to the UNC System, effective immediately, that expands teleworking options for employees in Durham, Wake and Orange counties, when feasible, as part of larger social distancing strategies in response to COVID-19. In that communication, managers and supervisors were strongly encouraged to begin implementing remote working arrangements, where feasible, as early as Monday, March 23. In light of recent updates about the coronavirus situation and the Governor’s recent executive order, we are revising the timing of this guidance to strongly encourage managers and supervisors to begin implementing remote working arrangements, where feasible, as soon as possible.

This guidance applies to both SHRA and EHRA employees, and it is important to remember that the university remains fully open and operational at this time.  For additional information on remote working arrangements, please reference NCCU’s Telework and Flexwork Policy.

As a reminder, Communicable Disease Mandatory Employees (CDMEs) are employees who perform functions that are absolutely essential to the continuation of core University operations during a potential health emergency.  To assist managers and supervisors with making these designations, the department of Human Resources has developed a Guide for Designation of Communicable Disease Mandatory Employees that is available via a link here https://myeol.nccu.edu/documents/document/873679565.

Please refer to the “COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Staff” from the Department of Human Resources for further guidance. As an additional reminder, if you have traveled to CDC Level 2 or 3 destinations or destinations within the United States that have documented cases of COVID-19, we ask you to self-report your travel plans via this link: https://myeol.nccu.edu/webform/self-reporting-travel-form.

We understand that there are likely outstanding questions that you have and we are working diligently to provide you with answers; FAQs will be available online this week. A list of contact areas and numbers will be circulated in the coming days. Divisions and offices will also distribute updates as needed. Please continue to visit https://www.nccu.edu/coronavirus for information.

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., Chancellor

--

March 13, 2020

Dear North Carolina Central University Community:

Over the past several weeks, NCCU administrators and members of the university’s Pandemic Emergency Response Team have been carefully reviewing updates and guidance on the Coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19, provided by relevant agencies, including the North Carolina State Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State. COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization as of March 11, 2020.

On March 10, 2020, in response to COVID-19, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency, which frees state resources, alters state regulations and changes requirements within state government to allow for a quicker response.

We have also been working with the University of North Carolina (UNC) System Office to ensure our students, faculty, staff and visitors remain safe and healthy. A university-wide update with new guidance was published by UNC President Bill Roper on March 11, 2020, and is available here. To preserve our collective well-being, we know we will need to make changes that alter the way we interact, including actively practicing social distancing. The university will remain open, though our operations may be modified or schedules adjusted. North Carolina Central University will be extending spring break by one week, with classes to resume on Monday, March 23, 2020. We ask for your understanding as we work together on our new operating procedures.

We understand that this changing situation may cause anxiety, but hope to calm any fears by encouraging you to seek answers for COVID-19 from accurate and reliable sources, such as the NCDHHS, the CDC or U.S. State Department.

Please click on the menu to your left for information on Course Delivery, Guidance for Faculty and Staff Residential and Student Life and Preventative Measures.

Events

Governor Cooper’s State of Emergency warned citizens to be cautious and not host large gatherings. Individuals who are sick or at high-risk for COVID-19, specifically older populations, should not attend these events. Beginning Monday, March 16, and until further notice, gatherings or events of more than 100 people on or off-campus will be canceled, per the UNC System. This directive applies to all members of the NCCU community, visitors to the campus and events, including Rock the Lyceum, Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposium, Career Fair, Eagle Preview and Honors Convocation. A full list of canceled events will be published next week. Student activities should be limited, as well. Additionally, all spring athletic sports and fall and winter championships have been suspended by the MEAC through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Travel

Per the UNC System, all University-sponsored in-state travel to gatherings of 100 or more people is suspended, and all travel outside the state is suspended. The Travel Office will provide guidance regarding travel via separate correspondence.

As the circumstances change, we will make changes and updates to this plan as necessary.

Please ensure that you are checking your NCCU email account for these updates. I am confident that this is a time when our Eagle community will come together and be stronger than ever. Our resilience during this critical time will prove that “Truth and Service” is core to North Carolina Central University.

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., Chancellor

 

March 11, 2020

Message from the Chancellor

Dear NCCU Community,

Following new guidance from the University of North Carolina System, North Carolina Central University will be extending spring break by one week, with classes to resume on Monday, March 23, 2020. More detailed information, including alternative delivery of academic instruction, will be provided in the next 24 hours. A news release from the UNC System can be found here: https://www.northcarolina.edu/news/2020/03/UNC-System-Issues-Update-Coronavirus-Preparations.

The health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remain our number one priority. Please continue to visit www.nccu.edu/coronavirus for updates.

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D.

Chancellor

March 10, 2020

NCCU Community:

You may have seen that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina today in response to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). This type of declaration is typically issued before an emergency occurs to free state resources, alter state regulations and change authorities within state government to allow for a quicker response. It does not mean there is imminent danger to the university community. 

North Carolina Central University is in close contact with local, state and System officials. We will share more information as soon as it becomes available. 

March 7, 2020

The Message from Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, published on March 5, 2020, has been updated. Please see the highlighted portions below in italic for new information.

Thank you.

March 5, 2020

Message from the Chancellor

Dear NCCU Community:

As we prepare for spring break beginning March 7, I want to ensure students, faculty and staff remain safe and healthy when traveling locally, domestically or internationally as we watch the Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, closely.

Daily updates are being provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. State Department’s website, as well as the North Carolina State Department of Health and Human Services’ website. Travel advisories and health travel notices should be adhered to in the days and weeks to come.

The university strongly recommends carefully reviewing any travel plans and assessing whether or not to go forward with, or cancel, your arrangements. Throughout the United States, as well as countries around the world, new precautions and warnings are being posted or updated on a daily basis. Traveling to a destination that may potentially be impacted by COVID-19 could potentially require a quarantine when returning to the Triangle region. The recommended quarantine period is 14 days. Please be aware that as of March 6, cases of COVID-19 have been documented in 19 U.S states. Travel to and from these destinations should be reconsidered immediately.

As of February 29, 2020, North Carolina Central University has banned university-sponsored travel to and from any nation or country for which a Level 2 or 3 Health Notice is issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, voluntary and personal travel by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff, to countries with Level 2 or 3 Health Notices is strongly discouraged. A list of nations for which CDC Health Notices have been issued can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.  COVID-19 has also been documented in a number of areas in the United States; a list of states with documented COVID-19 cases can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html. Travel to these areas is strongly discouraged by the University and returning travelers may be asked to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine off campus prior to their return to the University.

We are asking you to self-report your travel plans via this link https://myeol.nccu.edu/webform/self-reporting-travel-form (note: log in to myEOL), especially if you plan to travel to CDC Level 2 or 3 destinations or destinations within the United States that have documented cases of COVID-19.  

The following is guidance from the Centers for Disease Control related to travel and return from Level 3 countries:

Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing.

The CDC has published a list of preventative steps here

Take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  6. Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  7. 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% alcohol.  Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Please continue to demonstrate safe health practices even when you are not on campus. If you feel sick or ill, seek medical treatment immediately and disclose all your symptoms. Do not eat or drink items that are unfamiliar to you or that have not been prepared in a sanitary manner or location. If you are with someone who is ill, encourage them to seek proper medical treatment as well.

Faculty and Staff: If you are sick, stay home and do not infect others. The university has a Telework and Flexwork Policy in place.

Together, we can maintain a healthy North Carolina Central University community!

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D.

Chancellor

--

February 6, 2020

The most current risk assessment available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) categorizes the risk as “low,” however the outbreak remains a major public health concern. Travel restrictions regarding China remain in place, with the CDC maintaining a Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) and the US Department of State a Travel Advisory Level 4 – Do Not Travel.

Current CDC recommendations are as follows:

  • Receive the flu vaccine
  • 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% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Additional information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (Centers for Disease Control) and https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/ (NC DHHS).

---

January 31, 2020

North Carolina Central University is monitoring the progression of a new coronavirus, known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, that originated in China and is a potential threat globally. The university will provide updates as they become available via NCCU.edu.

CDC Guidance on Coronavirus-Affected Areas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a LEVEL 3 Travel Warning (the highest level of warning) urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to China. Please read the travel warning here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china

Information on preventative steps to avoid infection is available on the CDC website, here.

North Carolina Central University Travel Restrictions

   1.  University Sponsored Travel:

  • Effective immediately and until further notice, non-essential travel to China by students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs—including students in the health professions—is prohibited.
  • University faculty or staff who wish to petition for approval to travel to China for humanitarian or scientific/clinical purposes related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak must seek explicit, advance approval—first from the dean of their school and subsequently from the Office of the Provost.

2.  Voluntary/Personal Travel Not Sponsored by the University:

  • Voluntary travel (defined as not University-sponsored) to the coronavirus-affected area above is strongly discouraged and should be reported to NCCU as outlined above.

3.  Implications of Travel:

  • EAP resource information is available for employees who may have family that either live in high impact areas or who may have contracted the virus. More information is available here: https://legacy.nccu.edu/administration/dhr/divisions/employeerelations/index.cfm.
  • The NCCU Office of Human Resources will provide guidance for departments on what to do and whom to contact for assistance if they identify a staff or faculty member who may have been exposed to the virus and requires a remote work location until the virus incubation period has passed. Please contact Mr. Linc Butler, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, or Ms. Gena Carter, Interim Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer, for assistance.
  • Any employee traveling to China must submit to a screening before returning to campus.

Please visit links above for additional information about the new coronavirus outbreak, travel restrictions, health precautions, prevention techniques, personal safety tips and other facts.

As a reminder, all international travel by University employees and students should be registered with the Office of International Affairs (Lee Biology Building, Room 102 or oia@nccu.edu). The office also provides specific travel and risk-related guidance. The University monitors travel alerts and warnings from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and communicates critical updates with individuals who are registered with the Office of International Affairs.

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