Friday, March 6, 2020--Southwestern Community College, with guidance from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health, is closely monitoring the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). On Thursday, March 5, a campus workgroup met and will continue to meet in an effort to plan for prevention and response in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa. A plan is in place and the group will continue to monitor and make decisions regarding college travel or if cases become widespread in the state.

The CDC considers the immediate risk to the general public to be low. At this time, the United States has 99 confirmed cases in 13 states, none of which are in Iowa.

It is very important at this time to take appropriate steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of illnesses. Many of you may have personal travel plans coming up during Spring Break. Before leaving on your trip, be sure to check the latest alerts on the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health websites, paying particular attention to regions with a CDC Warning Level 3. This information changes on a daily basis, so it is important to be aware of restrictions, screenings, and quarantines that may affect travel to and from your destination.

The CDC suggests the following tips to help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
• 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.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this important topic and we will keep you informed as additional information is available. As Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, shared in her email last week, updates will be shared on the Campus Health Page on the SWCC website, as needed.

If individuals have additional questions or concerns, students may contact Kim Bishop, dean of student services, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 641.782.1413, and employees should contact Jolene Griffith, director of human resources, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 641.782.1456.