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Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medical Information

The staff of the Wabash Student Health Center – Scott Douglas, M.D. ‘84 (Montgomery County Health Officer), John Roberts, M.D. ’83 (Deputy Montgomery County Health Officer), and Chris Amidon, BSN, RN, NCSN(College Nurse) – are working closely with the Wabash Administration to get students, faculty, and staff back to campus this fall. Informed by the latest data, science, and public health guidance, we are taking steps to create the most appropriate residential experience that will keep our community, including our most vulnerable populations, as safe as possible during the COVID-19 era.

There is absolutely no doubt that every member of the Wabash Community will have to work diligently to limit the effect of COVID-19 on our campus. This will be a true test of the Gentleman’s Rule – a responsibility to protect all members of the Wabash Family.

Student Health Center Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • We are considering the best ways to care for Wabash students, while maintaining the health and safety of students and the Health Center staff.
  • We will be requiring all students to contact Nurse Amidon via email or telephone before coming to the Student Health Center. All students will be questioned about COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposures prior to being offered an appointment. We are anticipating utilizing a combination of in-person and telehealth visits.

General COVID-19 Information

The best source for up-to-date information about COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website and the CDC FAQ page. We recommend you bookmark these pages for easy reference.

  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19. If you are concerned you might have COVID-19, you can use the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker chat bot to help you determine what type of help you might need.
  • COVID-19 disease is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets and likely from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. It is extremely contagious.
  • You do not have to be sick to spread the virus to others and you can catch the virus from someone who does not appear ill. It’s best to assume everyone is infected and act accordingly.
  • COVID-19 causes the most severe illness and death in older persons, particularly those who have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and kidney disease. However, many young people have died from COVID-19. It is important to note that we do have students on campus who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe illness and death. We have numerous faculty and staff who are older and have medical problems as well. We need to come together as a community to protect everyone, particularly the vulnerable persons on our campus.

General Precautions and Planning

How is the College planning for a return to campus?

Wabash College continues to prepare for its return to campus residency and in-person instruction under the guidance of the Healthy Campus Task Force (HCTF), the Academic Policy Committee, the COVID Response Team, and in consultation with a number of governmental agencies and higher education entities.

What is the Healthy Campus Task Force and what does it do?

The Healthy Campus Task Force is composed of Chris Amidon (College Nurse), Eric Lakomek '21, Malcolm Lang '21, Ann Taylor (Chemistry Professor and Special Assistant to the President for COVID-19 Response and Planning), and Marc Welch (Associate Dean of Students) with regular contributions from John Roberts '83 (Campus Physician and Deputy Montgomery County Health Officer) and Todd McDorman (Dean of the College). Its charge is to examine and propose changes to our facilities, procedures, practices, and operations to limit the spread of the virus and to manage illness on campus.

What is the Academic Policy Committee and what does it do?

The Academic Policy Committee is elected by the faculty and normally drafts and approves academic policies for consideration by the faculty. They have been deliberating and making recommendations on calendaring, course policies, and best practices for classrooms and co-curricular activities.

What is the COVID Response Team and what does it do?

The COVID Response Team is comprised of Jim Amidon (Chief of Staff), Kendra Cooks (Chief Financial Officer), Scott Feller (President), Todd McDorman (Dean of the College), Greg Redding (Dean of Students), and Ann Taylor (liaison to the HCTF). They have considered campus wide practices and procedures, and approved funding of items recommended by the Healthy Campus Task Force.

What types of precautions is the College taking to reduce the spread of COVID?

Wabash has worked with the Independent Colleges of Indiana to obtain PPE for the Student Health Center, masks for everyone on campus, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer. We are placing plexiglass barriers in offices where transactions must take place, and encouraging virtual appointments and meetings. Consistent with our Gentleman’s Rule, there will be an emphasis on personal responsibility for maintaining the health of our community. Each member of the college community will receive a CARE (COVID Action, Response and Education) package containing two masks, a thermometer, starter amount of hand sanitizer and refillable water bottle.

What outside expertise in Public Health has the College sought in crafting its plan for the operation of campus?

We have received guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, American College Health Association, Indiana State Department of Health, Montgomery County Health Department, and the Fairbanks School of Public Health. We are collaborating with the Independent Colleges of Indiana and the Great Lakes Colleges Association on procurement and policy making. We have also consulted with experts at other higher education institutions and medical centers in the area.

Returning to Campus / Student Housing / Fraternity Rush

When can staff and faculty return to their offices?

Discuss with your supervisor or the Dean of the College what the best time is for you to return to your office. To provide for physical distancing, for the time being many employees will continue remote work, staggered schedules, and other strategies for reducing the density of people on campus. When on campus, wear a mask when around others and in high-traffic places, wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you are ill. Additional information can be found in Guidelines for Employees and Checklist for Supervisors.

Are family members of staff and faculty allowed on campus?

The College discourages regular or prolonged visits to campus by family members of faculty and staff.

When can upperclassmen students return to campus?

Deans Redding and Welch will communicate with upperclassmen about when they can return to campus. All students will be required to schedule a time to move into their living units so that we can reduce the number of people simultaneously using stairways and elevators. Additional details will be provided in mid-July.

When can new students move to campus?

The College will welcome freshmen and transfer students over the course of two days, August 7-8. Students will schedule a time to move into their living units in order to reduce the number of people simultaneously using stairways and elevators. Additional details will be provided in mid-July. The Ringing-In Ceremony for new students will occur on Sunday, August 9 and will be limited to new students (a live-stream will be available for family members).

How will fraternity rush work in the fall? When will new students have the opportunity to rush?

Fraternity rush continues through the summer with virtual events and personal outreach. Students interested in exploring fraternity life in a general way should reach out to Dean Welch at welchm@wabash.edu. Planning is underway for rush activities over the weekend of August 7-9 that comply with safe physical distancing practices.

How will safe physical distancing in fraternity houses and residence halls be practiced?

The College has received guidance from public health agencies to reduce the density in its living units.  Bedrooms have been rearranged to provide safe physical distance between beds. Capacity will be reduced in dining rooms and students will be encouraged to eat in shifts or “grab and go.”  Bon Appetit and Campus Cooks are following their institutional guidelines regarding safe food preparation, handling and distribution.  In Sparks, self-service stations and buffets have been eliminated, serving areas are spread out, plexiglass guards have been installed, and additional outdoor seating areas will be set before school begins.

Information for International Students

Are accommodations being made for international students?

International students, particularly incoming students, who are currently out of the country may have challenges getting to campus because embassies are closed and there will be long lines when they reopen. Chris Dixon, Senior Assistant Director of International Admissions, will be in contact with these students to keep them apprised of their options. Academic advisors will work with international students on their course schedules. International students entering the United States from their home countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days on campus before entering their living units.

What I Can Do to Maintain the Health of the Community

What are plans to encourage community participation in public health best practices?

Students will be required to abide by the Gentleman's Compact and faculty and staff have received Employee Guidelines for returning to the workplace. A COVID Action Response Educator (CARE) Team of students trained in public health practices will advocate for positive physical and mental health practices, as well as conducting public health initiatives. Resident Assistants and fraternity leaders will also participate in the training activities.

How we can maintain the Wabash culture in light of the new challenges and continued uncertainties?

The College will work with the Sphinx Club, Resident Advisors, and fraternity leaders to maintain Wabash traditions and rites of passage.

Symptom Monitoring/Testing/Contact Tracing

Will everyone be tested when they return to campus?

The College will require students, faculty, and staff to monitor symptoms and temperatures daily. The CDC, Indiana State Department of Health, and Montgomery County Health Department currently do not recommend testing of all individuals in a community. The College has consulted with epidemiologists and public health authorities and determined that widespread testing at this time could lead to unnecessary isolation and quarantine of students. This strategy may change depending on disease activity on campus and the broader community. Students who develop symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness-of-breath, new loss of taste or smell, body aches, chills, sore throat, and runny nose will be tested on campus by the Student Health Center staff. The College will identify and test students who are coming from high-risk areas such as states or counties that are showing a high prevalence of COVID-19 or that have increasing community spread. The identification of high-risk students will be made shortly before they return to campus. This testing also includes international students. The College will test athletes who are engaged in high-contact sports on their arrival to campus. Our current plans are subject to change based on the advice of health authorities and medical professionals.

How will we be monitoring the number of infected students, faculty, and staff?

We will be using a symptom tracking app to identify ill individuals early. In addition to students who test positive for COVID-19 on campus, individuals who test positive through an off-campus provider will be asked to report this to the Student Health Center. Employees should report a positive COVID test to human resources at hr@wabash.edu or by calling Cathy Metz at 765-361-6418. This information will remain confidential.

What will happen if a member of the community contracts COVID-19 when we return this fall?

When students contract COVID-19, they will be moved to an isolation facility or be allowed to isolate off campus with their family. We will follow CDC guidelines for when a student may return to campus. Faculty and staff who contract the virus should isolate at home and contact Human Resources to receive guidance on when to return to work.

What will happen if a member of the community is in close contact with a diagnosed case of COVID-19? 

We will follow the CDC protocols for quarantine and testing people who have had close contact (closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with a diagnosed case of COVID-19.  Quarantined students who are asymptomatic will continue working on their classes.

If someone in my class is diagnosed with COVID-19, will we all have to be quarantined?  

The classrooms have been reset to allow for spacing of 6 feet or greater so that the entire class will not need to be quarantined. However, members of the class may be identified through contact tracing for quarantine and testing.

What about contact tracing?

In Indiana, contact tracing is done through the Indiana State Department of Health. Wabash is developing ways of supplementing this tracing on campus. Our goal is to quarantine close contacts as soon as possible after a positive case is identified on campus.

Why is Wabash requiring everyone to get a flu shot this year?

Respiratory influenza usually starts to appear in Indiana in the late fall and runs through the spring. This is the same time period that most infectious disease experts fear that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will be undergoing one or more resurgences or "waves." Having influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 circulating at the same time has the real potential to increase the severity of illness caused by one or both viruses. Having a large outbreak could easily overwhelm our ability to care for students at Wabash and also threaten the U.S. health care system that historically has had difficulty caring for patients during severe influenza seasons. We do not yet have a vaccine to help prevent COVID-19, but we do have one to reduce the circulation of influenza viruses. We therefore feel it is critical for the entire Wabash community to be immunized for influenza this year. Dates for on-campus flu shots are September 13 (3-7 p.m.), October 1 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.), and October 5 (4-7 p.m.). Franciscan, the health care company that administers our flu vaccines, will bill all forms of insurance, so there will be no up-front costs for students.

Community Spread and Changes in Operations

What criteria will be used to determine when the spread of COVID-19 has reached an extent that the College must make changes to its operations?

This decision will be made by College administrators and the Student Health Center professionals with guidance from state and local health officials. This decision will be based upon the rates of infection, capacity to manage health care, and ability to provide quality instruction. Any decisions will be communicated on the COVID web page, Emergency Notification System, and through official email announcements.

Cleaning Residences and Public Areas

What could we do to reduce the strain on Campus Services and take ownership of our own work areas?

Students and employees are highly encouraged to empty their trash and recycling in receptacles in common areas and take responsibility for wiping down their own offices and work areas. This serves the dual purpose of reducing strain on Campus Services while also limiting outside exposure to individual work and living areas.

Will students be trained on how to properly clean their fraternity kitchens, restrooms, and showers?

Yes, Sodexo trainers will spend time with each living unit instructing on proper chemical handling and usage, as well as cleaning procedures and best practices. As the semester progresses, we will retrain cleaners as need appear during inspections.

Who will be in charge of cleaning and sanitizing high-touch public spaces like restrooms? If the students, administrative staff, or faculty will be asked to assist with cleaning, will we be trained?

Users should wash their hands before and after using public facilities. While Sodexo will perform sanitization during the evenings and overnight, people in the spaces will need to assist with maintaining clean work areas. Sodexo will provide training on proper chemical handling and usage, as well as cleaning procedures for light office and classroom cleaning.

Classrooms / Spaces / Interactions / Meetings

When should I wear a face covering or mask?

Wabash requires everyone to wear masks when on campus, when around others, and in high-traffic places. The College’s policy is posted online.

How will Wabash classrooms be different this fall?

The College has measured every classroom to determine the appropriate number of students for each, while maintaining safe physical distance. Some classes may be taught in a “hy-flex” fashion, which will allow some students to attend in person and others in a virtual format. Some classes may be taught at times other than the normal 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. schedule. An additional 5 minutes has been added to the passing times on MWF to allow for clearing and cleaning of a classroom before the next class enters. All plans will be communicated in mid-July.

Why is Wabash having any hybrid or virtual courses?

We are working on a variety of options for teaching and learning. We would use hybrid and virtual approaches because of community health (the need to spread students out among a finite supply of large classrooms) and the health of individuals in our community. Likewise, offering virtual classrooms allows students who might be isolating or quarantining to keep up in class, and it gives options for those students who are unable to return to campus and must learn remotely.

How will students' interactions in faculty and staff offices be handled?

For now, we will continue to encourage the use of video conferencing for office hours, individual appointments, and meetings as much as possible. In situations where physical distancing can’t be maintained, all individuals are required to wear masks or face coverings. In settings where transactions must be performed, plexiglass shields will be installed.

Where will we hold meetings and group discussions?

Everyone in the community should plan to conduct as many meetings as possible using Zoom or a similar virtual platform for both individual appointments and group meetings. Room capacities have been adjusted on Scheduler to reflect social distancing seating and all rooms will have maximum capacities posted.

Will campus buildings like the Fine Arts Center, Library, and Allen Center remain closed to the public?

This will depend upon current levels of infection in the Wabash community, Crawfordsville and regional area, and advice from public health agencies.

What is the definition of the "Wabash Bubble" or "Wabash Campus Community?" Does this include families of Wabash faculty and staff, emeritus professors, parents of students, etc.?

The fewer people who are in our bubble, the better we will be able to manage data and infection rates. So, for the beginning of the year, the bubble will be limited to those who participate in our symptom tracking program (required for Wabash students, faculty and staff).

Human Resources / Work from Home

For those of us with school-age children and no childcare available, what accommodations will be made if we need to be with our kids for e-learning again in the Fall?

It is our understanding that local schools will be opening for in person learning. If that is not the case or your child is unable to return to school for another reason, please contact Director of Human Resources Cathy Metz to request special accommodations. Please do not disclose the reason for the accommodation initially. Cathy will contact you if more information is needed in regard to the request.

What if a medical condition prevents me from coming to work?

Please notify Director of Human Resources Cathy Metz to make request for an accommodation. Please do not disclose the reason for the accommodation initially. Cathy will contact you if more information is needed in regard to the request.

Staff Travel

When traveling off of campus, should staff self-isolate for any period of time before returning to campus?

Individuals returning from outside the local area should discuss with their supervisor (in consultation with campus medical professionals) the risk of them bringing disease back to campus. Considerations should include the extent of spread in the destination and the nature of the interactions while away.

General COVID-19 FAQ

What Can I Do to Stay Healthy?

  • Practice physical distancing of at least six feet, wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a cloth face mask when you are in public and are not able to stay six feet apart from those around you.
  • Avoid people who look ill.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wipe down high-touch surfaces daily using a disinfectant (be sure and read the instructions).
  • Eat healthy.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night on a regular schedule.
  • Maintain a normal daytime schedule.

How Can I Reduce the Spread of COVID Virus?

  • We know the virus spreads when people are in close contact with one another and that you don’t have to have any symptoms to spread the virus to others. When Wabash re-opens, we will require all students, faculty, and staff to wear cloth facemasks that cover the nose and mouth when they can’t maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. This requirement will apply everywhere on the Wabash campus, particularly living units.
  • Everyone will need to practice frequent handwashing or cleaning their hands using at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of becoming infected. It is crucial that you avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes. See our handwashing instructions to the tune of “Old Wabash”.
  • You should cough and sneeze into your elbow, sleeve or better yet use a tissue.
  • We will strongly recommend that everyone limit in-person social interactions with visitors who are not part of the Wabash community. This includes gatherings such as parties, etc. If a person visits from outside our community, he or she must practice the prevention strategies listed above.
  • We may require you to quarantine if you are returning to campus from travel to a high-risk area, both in the U.S. and Internationally.
  • For those students who become infected and are unable to leave campus (or it would not be wise to do so), the College will provide alternate housing for those in isolation or quarantine. COVID-positive students will be placed together in special living quarters.
  • The College has stepped up and will continue its disinfection practices, and asks students, staff, and faculty to pitch in to ensure we all adhere to strategies to keep our environment clean.
  • Students should bring a reliable thermometer with them to campus to monitor their temperature. Note that thermometers are difficult to find, so put your order in now. Everyone should bring a good supply of facial tissues (Kleenex) to cough and sneeze into and throw them away after use.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have COVID-19?

The CDC indicates the following symptoms are linked to COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chills
  • Shaking with Chills
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Loss of Taste/Smell

If you are experiencing these symptoms, stay home and contact Nurse Amidon in the Student Health Center. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your room, except to get medical care. Isolate yourself and do not visit public areas.

Call 911 immediately if you have any of these EMERGENCY WARNING SIGNS:

  • Trouble Breathing
  • Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest
  • Confusion or Inability to Arouse or Wake Up
  • Bluish Lips or Face

If you call 911, tell the operator you think you may have COVID-19, OR go to the Crawfordsville Emergency Room north of Crawfordsville on US 231 (call ahead at 765.364.3132 and tell them you are coming and think you may have COVID-19).

  • Read more about the symptoms of COVID-19. You can also use the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker chat bot that will help you determine what type of help you need to seek.
  • If you are sick and don’t have severe symptoms, ISOLATE YOURSELF AT HOME OR IN YOUR ROOM. If you are not on campus, contact your private health care provider for advice. If you are on campus, email Nurse Amidon or call the Student Health Center at 765.361.6265. Please review the CDC’s recommendations for self-isolation.
  • Fortunately, 80% of people infected with the coronavirus will have mild disease and make a full recovery just by staying isolated and treating their symptoms.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Diagnosed with COVID-19?

Contact the Student Health Center. Isolate yourself and follow the CDC Guidance on What to Do If You Are Sick and the Indiana State Department of Health Home Care Instructions. If you are not able to travel to your home to recover, Wabash will provide living space for you. Do not share cups, utensils, lip balm, e-cigarettes or other smoking devices, etc.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Exposed to Someone Who Has COVID-19?

Contact the Student Health Center for advice. Depending on your exposure, you may need to be quarantined for 14 days from the last date you had contact with the infected person. This means you must stay at home or in your room on campus and monitor yourself for symptoms. Please read the CDC’s recommendations about quarantine.

What is the Difference Between Quarantine and Isolation?

Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.

Isolation:Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).

When Can I Go Back to School or Work if I Have Been Diagnosed With COVID-19?

Follow the CDC Guidance on Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings. You must contact the Student Health Center to get final clearance to return to class. In order to return to work, please have your primary care physician issue a release.

What’s the Best Way to Take Care of Someone Who Has COVID-19?

How Can I Get Tested for Infection?

  • At the present time, the majority of testing is recommended for people who are having symptoms of COVID-19. This recommendation will change as more testing becomes available and as public health authorities develop a strategy for testing asymptomatic people.
  • There are many tests available to check for active COVID-19 infection. Most of these are performed by inserting a swab into the nose to obtain a specimen. The specimen is then either sent to a lab for testing (most common) or tested using a rapid on-site test. Both tests are looking for the COVID-19 virus RNA fingerprint.
  • Wabash will employ testing to diagnose and contact trace COVID-19 on campus.
  • There are not any blood tests that check for current infection.

How Can I Get Tested to Determine if I Have Immunity to COVID-19?

  • We are still learning how the body responds to this virus and how we develop immunity. We don’t know how strong the immunity is, how long it might last, or if you can get infected again.
  • Many antibody tests are being rapidly developed to determine if a person has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Only a small number of the tests have been approved by the FDA and their reliability appears highly variable. Antibody tests may miss those who have been exposed to the virus (false negative) or may indicate someone is immune when they are not (false positive).
  • Note that receiving a positive antibody test (indicating you have may been exposed to the virus) does NOT guarantee that you are immune and that you are safe to stop protecting yourself and others by physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.
  • The bottom line is more studies need to be done on who should be getting antibody tests and when.

Is There a COVID-19 Vaccine?

There is not a vaccine available to protect against the COVID-19 virus. Many vaccines are under development with a few showing promise. It will likely be, at the earliest, sometime in 2021 before a vaccine is available to the general public..

What Medications Can I Use to Treat My COVID-19 Symptoms?

We currently don’t have any medications that appear to be effective in treating the disease. Symptoms such as headaches, body aches, and fever can be treated by use of medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible.

What If I Have a Mental Health Emergency?

Being cooped up inside and having limited social interactions can be taxing to anyone and can also cause anxiety. Students have access to the Wabash Counseling Center during the academic year. Contact Jamie Douglas or Laura Dolph to arrange a virtual or telephone visit. You can also call and leave a message for Jamie at 765.361.5592 or Laura at 765.361.6252.


COVID-19 INTERNET RESOURCES

Indiana COVID-19 Call Center

NEW TOLL-FREE NUMBER: 877-826-0011

If you are calling with general questions about Novel Coronavirus press 1; if you are a healthcare provider please press 2.

The primary purpose of the call center is to provide guidance from the CDC to healthcare providers and the public. Call center staff will not offer personal medical advice or provide test results. If you are sick, consult your healthcare provider.