Dear Faculty and Staff:
The safety and health of our students, faculty, staff and campus communities is clearly our highest priority as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving situations related to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are dedicated to providing you with information about coronavirus, recommended prevention measures for individuals and precautions that are being are taken at Northwestern State University. The well-being of students, faculty and staff guides all our actions and decisions.
On Wednesday March 11, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation, (attachment 25 JBE 2020 COVID-19), declaring a Public Health Emergency. It is important to adhere to all directives in the proclamation and especially critical for NSU personnel and other state employees to be aware of and comply with provisions in Sections 7 and 8 that deal with travel and leave.
On Friday, March 13, Gov. Edwards issued a second proclamation (attachment 27 JBE 2020 COVID-19) that provides additional directives to help curtail the spread of COVID-19, including the suspension of all gatherings of 250 people or more and the closure of K-12 facilities to students until April 13.
Also, on Friday, March 13, State Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne issued guidelines regarding leave procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.doa.la.gov/comm/COVID-19%20memo.pdf.
In compliance with these directives, we suspended all international travel and non-essential domestic travel, postponed or canceled all on-campus events with more than 50 participants through April 15 and suspended all in-person classes at the end of the day on Friday, March 13, as we transition to online instruction and other remote learning alternatives beginning Thursday, March 19.
Also, based on Gov. Edwards’ proclamation (25-JBE-2020) and Commissioner Dardenne’s March 13 memorandum, we have developed information found in the attachment “Leave Time” to address your questions and concerns regarding the use of leave. Should you need additional information after reviewing these guidelines, please contact Lisa Harris, Human Resources Director, at 318-357-5965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know many members of the Northwestern Family have children in the K-12 school system who will need care during the normal workday. Please utilize the attached leave information and know the University continues to discuss options to address this issue.
Also, discussions regarding teleworking have ensued. This may be an option for employees who have a need and hold a position where duties can be performed remotely. Additional details will be available by the end of the day Tuesday.
Please also be advised that we continue to work with our custodial services company on campus to provide enhanced sanitation measures, including increased disinfection of frequently-touched surfaces. Additional hand sanitizing stations will also be installed in campus buildings. We are communicating with other companies that specialize in intense sanitation and disinfection of major buildings and facilities. We ask you to continue to practice social distancing recommendations throughout campus.
You are urged to continue monitoring information and news releases on the university’s website (https://www.nsula.edu/covid-19/) and follow recommendations of state, national and international health organizations to clean your hands thoroughly and often, stay at home if you are ill, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, maintain social distancing when possible, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and seek medical care if you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
I truly appreciate your understanding as we address these unprecedented challenges. I ask that everyone continue to be understanding and encouraging to one another. Please know that many people are working diligently with state and federal officials to monitor state and national directives and provide guidance to our campus community.
During this undetermined period of time that we face the threat of the spread of COVID-19, I will discontinue the regular Sunday updates to faculty and staff as we update you continually on information related to the impact of coronavirus on our campuses and communities.
As Dr. Jim Henderson at the ULS System reminded university presidents today, it is important for us to make a concerted effort to account for every additional expenditure, revenue reduction and all other fiscal aspects of our unprecedented changes in operations in the wake of this pandemic. Chief Financial Officer Pat Jones will be providing guidance and assistance in tracking that information.
As I stated in an earlier message, your recommendations for additional measures to enhance the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff and others in the university community as we maintain our firm commitment to NSU’s mission and goals would be appreciated and receive careful consideration.
Chris Maggio, President