Update on GRC’s preparations related to the novel coronavirus
By Suzanne M. Johnson, March 1, 2020
Dear Green River College Community,
I’m writing today to provide updates regarding the novel coronavirus. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our priority. Currently, no members of the Green River College community have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Similarly, there is no sustained person-to person transmission at this time. In preparation for potential changes to this status, state, county and local agencies are taking steps to prepare our communities should events change. In an abundance of caution, we are preparing as we would for any other potentially disruptive situation, such as a natural disaster.
The GRC Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is monitoring the situation closely and has created a webpage that includes recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health and other important resources. We are also currently reviewing and updating our emergency procedures as necessary to ensure the health and safety of our community, and our International Programs team is providing information and support to international students. Additionally, the College ordered large quantities of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes for our campus and branch locations and are scheduled to arrive at the College tomorrow, March 2nd. We will send additional information on distribution once these products have arrived.
As you may have heard, over the weekend public health officials announced that the first death in the United States attributed to the novel coronavirus has occurred in King County. At the time of writing this, there are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County. While these individuals are not a part of the Green River College community, our hearts are with those who have been impacted by this outbreak.
During this time, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency, directing agencies to use all resources needed to respond to the outbreak. The proclamation allows state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and funding to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.
What you can do?
King County Public Health publishes a page with regular updates relevant specifically to our region. You can sign up to receive free email alerts that will inform you when new information is posted to the site.
The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
Sign up for Green River Safety Alerts and keep informed of campus emergencies, safety issues and inclement weather emergency closures. If we have suspended operations, you will be notified through our FlashAlert and emergency alerts systems that send out calls, emails and text messages. Now is a great time to make sure your number is registered and/or up-to-date to receive emergency communications and notification settings are correct. Subscriptions require renewal each year.
Practice Good Hygiene
Prevention measures for the coronavirus are similar to those used against the common cold and flu, both of which are currently circulating in high numbers across the country. These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home from school or work if sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Don’t share food and drinks.
- Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
Also, please be aware that hackers are using the coronavirus to leverage phishing schemes that trick people into clicking on malicious links and sharing their personal security information. As always, be cautious when clicking on links in emails from unknown sources.
Responding to Misinformation, Bias or Stigma
In times of fear and uncertainty there is often misinformation shared as a result of bias and, at times, discrimination. COVID-19 is a global concern that can make anyone sick, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Green River College is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all who study, work or visit at any of our locations.
If you experience or witness any bias or harassment, please report it to GRC Campus Safety at 253-288-3350. Any Green River student in need of more personal support during this time is encouraged to contact GRC Counseling Services at 253-833-9111, ext. 2460. King County Public Health has also created a site dedicated to anti-stigma resources.
Additional Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources
- The CDC includes the latest information on the virus, how it’s spread, and prevention measures.
- To learn more about U.S. cases, view the CDC’s map.
- CDC travel advisories are at Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel for China, South Korea, and Italy. U.S. Department of State travel advisories are at Level 4: Do Not Travel for China and Level 3: Reconsider Travel for Italy and South Korea. Monitor the CDC and State Department for the latest travel advisories.
- The CDC also has helpful information on prevention tips and what to do if people may have contracted the virus or been exposed to the virus.
- Washington State Department of Health fact sheets in 11 different languages.
- The University of Washington is also maintaining a website with resources as well as updates specific to their campuses
As this event continues to evolve, we will share information and updates on our website and social media pages. You can find additional resources about how you can prepare as an individual, family or business on the Public Health - Seattle & King County website.
Thank you for your attention to this email…Suzanne