Today's News About the Coronavirus

The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 5 regarding a confirmed case of coronavirus COVID-19 in Williamson County.
Dear USN families and faculty,
 
Let me confirm our awareness of today's announcement about an identified coronavirus case in Williamson County and our knowledge of the Grand Rounds discussion at Vanderbilt University Medical Center this morning. The news of a local instance of the illness tracks directly with what we had been led to expect given projections for the domestic acceleration of exposure, including in our region.
 
What I can share with certainty is that:
  • We are deepening our efforts to clean and sanitize things here at USN.
  • We are reviewing any scheduled travel and event attendance away from campus.
  • We canceled the summer trip to Spain today and continue to monitor for the latest travel advisories.
  • We are continuing our reminders to everyone across the USN community to practice preventative hygiene per CDC guidelines. And if any of us does not feel well, staying home is the expected course of action.
The benefit of a preemptive school closure, absent evident substantial illness here, is not yet clear to us. Of course we'll listen carefully to medical advice, follow Metro Nashville Public Health recommendations & mandateswatch our friends at Vanderbilt University, and respond in turn. From all we can gather, the presence of this virus is likely to be a longer-term reality nationally.
 
Conversations with faculty members about how best to maintain our academic program progress from a distance are evolving, though the inherent unpredictability of the situation makes any definitive planning especially challenging. It's just a fact that trying to do USN from home, away from this community, is far from optimal in terms of teaching and learning.
 
Perhaps most important is the fact that we continue to assess where things stand on a fairly constant basis. Saturday's letter to you now seems quite far back in time. My gratitude extends ever more sincerely to the range of medical experts who share news, wisdom, and emerging best practice with us, and I can promise you we'll work tirelessly to strike the right balance between caution and confidence given all that we come to know.
 
Thanks for reading. I'll keep the updates coming.
 
And keep doing what you can to stay healthy,
Vince Durnan
Director
 
Reminders from the USN Health Room
Please keep students with fever, cough, and respiratory symptoms home until they are 24 hours fever-free (less than 100.4 degrees) or have no signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine and no vomiting or diarrhea. Click here for overviews of treatment and prevention of influenza, strep throat, and the common cold, which we commonly see this time of year.

Basic Hygiene Best Practices 
  • When washing hands: Wet hands. Turn off water. Soap and scrub for 30 to 60 seconds. Rinse well. Dry well.
  • Cough into the sleeve of your elbow or into tissues. If you cough into your hands, wash your hands immediately.
  • Wash with a general household cleaner to remove germs, then rinse with water, then clean surfaces and door handles with EPA approved products designated to kill flu viruses.
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