Coronavirus Information

Plymouth State University is closely monitoring the current 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and University leaders are in constant communication with government and public health agencies on a global scale to learn from and closely follow their recommendations.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Plymouth State University.

This is a rapidly changing situation and we will stay in contact with state and federal authorities for the latest information. Please direct all questions to our Covid 19 Response Team: covid19@plymouth.edu

This webpage is designed to keep you updated on planning and decision-making related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We have no higher priority than the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and others affiliated with PSU. 

Key Information for Students

  • March, 29 update: Spring 2020 Grading Policy
  • In person classes and all campus events will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester.
  • Students will be asked to move out of the residence halls. 
    • Detailed instructions will be coming from Residential Life regarding when and how PSU students should plan to move their belongings out of their respective residence halls.  Students should wait for these details before returning to campus.
  • PSU will continue to provide housing and meals for students who can verify that they do not have a secure or safe place to be.  
  • Students living off campus should work with their landlords to determine how and when they plan to leave Plymouth and move home.
  • We will be refunding room and board costs on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the year for all students living on campus.
  • We are working now to strengthen technology support for remote learning. 
  • A decision regarding PSU’s traditional May Commencement Ceremonies will be made in the coming days.

Self-Quarantine Policy

Recommendations for Management of Close Contact with Person Diagnosed with COVID-19
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Self-Quarantine Guide

It’s important to note these updates to our 14-Day Self-Quarantine Policy for any students, faculty, and staff until further notice.  If you fall into any of the following categories please plan to follow our self-quarantine policy:

  • Anyone that is identified to have been in close contact with a person with suspect or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Anyone that has traveled to any European country or Asia.
  • Anyone that has been on cruise. 
  • Anyone who has traveled to, visited, or spent time in three specific U.S. areas, including the New York City metro area, Seattle metro area, and Southern California. Additionally, anyone who has traveled to a municipality that has announced active measures to limit community exposure such as closing schools, limiting large gatherings (for example, Westchester and New Rochelle, NY).

If you fall into any of the above categories we are asking you to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, which is the length of time needed for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear and for a possible diagnosis to be made.

In addition, anyone who becomes ill before returning to campus with a fever or respiratory illness will not be allowed back on campus until they are without fever for at least 24 hours (off any fever reducing medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen) and symptoms have improved or resolved.

There are still details being worked out and you will be receiving additional information from Academic Affairs, Student Life, and other areas over the coming days in response to your questions regarding processes and procedures.

Prevention

To reduce the risk of spreading virus infection, the CDC recommends taking precautionary measures that include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
  • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home and avoid public places when sick (i.e. social distancing).
  • Avoid being within six feet (close contact) of a person who is sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, smoking/vaping devices, or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

Campus Communications

March 25, 2020: Commencement Update

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

These are challenging times and I am grateful that we are together as a university community when so many things are uncertain.

I’m happy to share some good news of special importance to the Class of 2020. While our traditional Commencement ceremonies will not be taking place as planned in May, we are not cancelling this celebration but postponing it.

We will work closely with 2020 Class Officers, Graduate Council, and faculty and staff leadership to find an appropriate future date to invite graduates and their families back to campus to celebrate their amazing achievements. There is much planning to be done, so please be patient as we develop an appropriate schedule.

Together, we are stronger, and I look forward to celebrating with each of you on our beautiful campus when the time is right. I’ll be in touch again when details can be shared.

Sincerely,
Don
Don Birx
President

March 20, 2020: Personal Message of Thanks

Dear Plymouth State Community,

As we continue to adjust to the many challenges being posed by the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), I want to take a moment to acknowledge your incredible work and dedication.

To our students:

As we end a week that was full of dramatic change and anxiety-inducing news from around the country, I want to thank you for your collaboration, goodwill, and support as we have struggled to transfer to online delivery methods very quickly; and as we work together to preserve the health and well-being of the Plymouth State community during this unsettled time. 

I understand the frustration, anger and sadness that many of you are feeling right now, perhaps no one more than our seniors who have had their final weeks at PSU cut short and have unanswered questions about commencement (which we will have further details about next week) and other celebrations.

Please know that we will be working closely with the Class of 2020 Officers and the University System to find the appropriate time and place for us to celebrate the myriad of achievements both our graduating undergraduate and graduate students have accomplished.

This past week I’ve watched as many of you have started participating in remote class work.  Please do connect as soon as possible if you have not done so already. And please be patient as we reconfigure and adapt to what is now extended online delivery.  Our dedicated faculty are trying various modes to see what is most effective for them and you and I am proud of both you and them for what has been accomplished so far. Please continue to work as hard online as you would if you were here in a classroom and support each other through the process.

As with your faculty and dedicated staff, whether working on campus or remotely, have been doing extraordinary work to service your needs and they are here for you whether on or off campus. In this time of national upheaval please continue to take care of one another and reach out to those who are feeling vulnerable. 

We will continue to update you regularly.  We are all working to make the best decisions we can given the circumstances and with the information we have at the time.  Throughout this, please know that we care about you, and want to do everything we can to protect your health and safety while continuing your progress toward graduation.  We will pull through this challenge together.

To our Faculty and Staff:

After the week we have all been through, I wanted to take a moment and just thank all of you. You have responded to the pandemic with courage and a dedication to our students in ways that none of us anticipated you would be called in to do. The rate at which you have ramping up across campus to address campus needs, online classes and support each other has been incredible. You have had to do this faster than anyone due to our students not being on Spring Break this week.

This past week I’ve watched as our students have started participating in remote class work.  I’m amazed and at the variety of tools that are being used to keep our students engaged and learning though they are far away from campus and how much you are reaching out to them.  I’ve heard from students and parents that  even remote contact with PSU is bringing some small feeling of connection and normalcy back to their daily lives and so many of you are reaching out. Thank you for all that you’re doing to make this happen. 

Staff, whether working on campus or remotely you have been doing extraordinary work serving the needs of our students.  You, our building services workers are here every day keeping our buildings safe and clean.  You our dining staff and partners continue to feed the students that are entrusted to us and you our Residential Life team is working to assist students in going home, caring for the students that have nowhere else to go, and taking care of our live-in staff in the residence halls. Many more of you are working across campus and remotely supporting our faculty our infrastructure and our students. Thank you!

Based on what we are seeing across the country and what health care professionals are telling us, it is clear that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area will increase in the coming days. This will add stress and concern for the health of our families, students and colleagues.

Please know I am committed to an approach that minimizes the impact on all members of our PSU community—from students to faculty and staff and their families and our surrounding community of Plymouth—and protects all of us. We will get through this.  Eventually, we will look back and know that we did our best for our students, our families and for each other.

I am sure for many of you will be very busy this weekend as well. Please as you can, take some time to rest if you’re able and be proud of the work you are doing in this very difficult time.

Warmest Regards,
Don
Don Birx
President

March 18, 2020: Important COVID-19 Update: Important Announcement for Spring Semester

Dear Plymouth State Community,

As we continue to closely follow the latest developments with COVID-19, our decisions are guided by our first priority: the safety and well-being of our faculty, staff, and students.

A few minutes ago, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) Board of Trustees made the decision to move to online instruction for all of its residential campuses for the remainder of the spring semester.  

Accordingly, PSU will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. 

For most of our faculty and staff, this means continuing to work remotely and not coming to campus. In addition to the health and safety of our community, we are committed to supporting our students so they can complete their spring semester remotely.

This decision will undoubtedly raise many questions for students and parents, faculty, staff, and the general community. This is an unprecedented action and we ask that you remain patient as we work together to address the many situations this public health crisis has created.

Based on this decision please note that:

  • In person classes and all campus events will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester.
  • Students will be asked to move out of the residence halls. 
    • Detailed instructions will be coming from Residential Life regarding when and how PSU students should plan to move their belongings out of their respective residence halls.  Students should wait for these details before returning to campus.
  • PSU will continue to provide housing and meals for students who can verify that they do not have a secure or safe place to be.  
  • Students living off campus should work with their landlords to determine how and when they plan to leave Plymouth and move home.
  • We will be refunding room and board costs on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the year for all students living on campus.
  • We are working now to strengthen technology support for remote learning. 
  • A decision regarding PSU’s traditional May Commencement Ceremonies will be made in the coming days.

I want to express my thanks and deep appreciation to each and every one of you for the resilience and teamwork you have demonstrated during these past several weeks under extraordinary pressure and anxiety.  As we move through this difficult time, we will work to provide answers to all your questions and find additional ways to connect remotely as a community.

Sincerely,

Don
Don Birx
President

March 18, 2020: PSU Public Health Network Agreement

Good evening residential students,

Following President Birx’s announcement, I’m sure you have many questions regarding moving out of the residence halls and on-campus apartments.  Please know that the team in Residential Life & Dining Services has been working diligently to design an organized and staggered process to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  With that, I request your continued patience.  We will communicate with you as plans are formalized so please continue to monitor your PSU email address.  DO NOT come to campus unannounced as you will not be granted access to your space.

Again, this is for the safety of all involved.

Due to agreements that PSU has with the Region’s Region’s Public Health Network Belknap and Pemigewasset Residence Halls are part of the region’s emergency health infrastructure.  Thus, it is our priority to move residents from these communities first.  Additional information will be sent to these residents shortly about this process.

This is not how we anticipated ending our year together and recognize the myriad emotions you may be experiencing. 

Thank you for your cooperation,

Amanda and the Residential Life & Dining Services team

March 18, 2020: Belknap & Pemigewasset Residents Announcement

Good evening Belknap and Pemigewasset residents,

We are prepared for you to return to campus this weekend to move out of your residence halls. In an effort to limit the number of students returning at once, we are dividing the process into two phases.  

 Saturday March 21 beginning at 9:00a.m  Sunday March 22, beginning at 9:00a.m 
 Residents of Belknap and Pemigewasset in rooms ending in an EVEN number (0,2,4,6,8)  Residents of Belknap and Pemigewasset in rooms ending in an ODD number (1,3,5,7,9) 

We recognize the short notice and appreciate you trying your best to arrive on your designated day.

If you are unable to return to campus to do so, PSU staff will need to pack your belongings and store until able to be retrieved.

In order to provide the most controlled and organized move-out process possible, please adhere to the information below:

  1. Please report to the Plymouth State Ice Arena/Welcome Center staging area and remain in your vehicle.
  2.  Please have as few people as possible with you to assist
  3. Portable restroom facilities will be available
  4. A PSU staff member will approach your vehicle to give you an “Express Check-Out” form.  This form will allow you access to the Residence Hall Checkpoint.
  5. A staff member will let you know when you may proceed to your residence hall to check out of your space.
  6. We will have moving bins and dollies available for your use, as well as staff on hand to disinfect high-touch areas throughout the day.
  7. PLEASE PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND BE RESPECTFUL OF THOSE AROUND YOU.
  8. Once at your building, there will be signage and instruction for completing the Express Check-out process
  9. Once you have checked out, please let a staff member know and then leave the building immediately.  The goal is to keep the process moving, so that we can service everyone in as much of a timely manner as possible.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.

March 18, 2020: Mail Services Update

To all PSU students:

In support of the current PSU COVID-19 response plan, Mail Services will be forwarding all mail & packages to your “Mailing” address in my.plymouth (Services tab, Personal Info, “Mailing” address type).  We will continue this procedure until we hear from our Administration that PSU is transitioning back to our standard face-to-face procedures.

If you are one of the few students staying on or around the campus and would like your mail & packages to stay at the Mail Center, please email your name and suite number to Mail-Center@plymouth.edu.  If your situation changes and you need to begin having your mail forwarded to your ‘Mailing’ address, please send a follow-up email to Mail-Center@plymouth.edu with your name and suite number and your updated request.

The PSU Mail Center hours are currently Monday – Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm.  Please note you will need your PSU ID in order to gain access to the HUB.

Questions can be directed to Mail-Center@plymouth.edu.

We hope this helps.

Our very best to you all,  
The Mail Center Staff 

March 18, 2020: Self-Quarantine Guidance

Dear Campus Community,

Both Caryn Ines and I have had the privilege to participate in many conversations with a variety of faculty, staff, and students.   Recently, many of our conversations have included the term self-quarantine and what that really means.  How do you self-quarantine?

As a result of some of these conversations, we, and the University System of New Hampshire (USNH), wanted to share the attached document with all of you.   Also, you may continue to reference the University’s website for up to date information on PSU and COVID-19 (https://www.plymouth.edu/current-students/campus-community/health-safety/health-safety/coronavirus-information/).

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to either one of us directly.

Be well.

Thank you,

Caryn Ines
Director of Human Resources
603-535-2981

Katie Caron
Director of Environmental, Health & Safety
603-535-2981

March 17, 2020: A Message from President Birx to Plymouth State Students

Dear Students,

As the implications of the COVID-19 situation change daily and our lives are increasingly upended, we are all concerned about our families, friends, loved ones, and the PSU community. We care about each and every one of you and want you to know that one thing that hasn’t changed is the strength and compassion of our community.

I know that this time is causing anxiety and stress in ways that you never expected. This is an emotional time of many challenging questions without easy answers as we face the disruptions impacting our nation and state. 

Please be assured that decisions made by Plymouth State have your security, safety, and future in mind. One of the amazing things about PSU is that we truly are a community. We are all going through this together and, even if we’re separated by distance, we continue to support and encourage each other.

I want each of you to know that faculty, staff, and administration are here to support you in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us for any reason.

I have been heartened by the many displays of friendship, outreach, and understanding that so many in our community are demonstrating, and I know that we will be there for each other as we go through this crisis together. 

Tomorrow we begin the transition to online learning. I know it won’t be the same as being here on campus. I understand that our dedicated faculty and staff, intimate classes, beautiful campus, strong community, and campus life are among the reasons you became a Panther, and that even the best online instruction won’t replace the classroom experience and the day-to-day life we share in Plymouth.

I know that this is especially hard for graduating seniors in their last semester.  

The spread of this disease and our decisions about it affect not only PSU’s programs and planning but the lives of individuals, as well. For many of you, the steps we are taking to protect the health of the community may involve significant inconvenience and personal sacrifice. 

I am very grateful for your understanding, sensitivity, and flexibility regarding each other’s burdens in this situation, and for making accommodations when possible.

Here are some very practical things for you to keep in mind as we move forward.

1. Classes will resume online beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18. Please be patient as faculty and staff make this transition to a new way of teaching and I promise they will be patient with you as you transition to a new way of learning.

2.  We encourage you to stay at home (as long as it’s a safe environment) and not return to or stay on campus.

3. Please remember to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other well-informed sources in order to slow the spread of the virus.

In this uncertain moment, I want you to know above all that I, together with the faculty and staff of your university, care deeply about your safety and well-being, and for you to remember that our community has the strength to pull together with kindness, care, and concern for the common good. We have each other and I have every confidence that we will get through this very challenging time together with each other’s love and support.

With warm regards,

Don Birx
President

March 16, 2020: Student Life Activities Update

As you know the institution is currently operating mostly online for the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. The campus has made the decision to encourage students to remain home and practice social distancing until we have a better understanding of the COVID-19 virus and more preventative measures in place to keep our students healthy. Campus is expected to reopen to all students on April 6th, but this may change as we acquire more information about the virus.

Due to these changes, all of the Student Life programs that are scheduled to April 6th have been canceled. This includes any events sponsored by Student Government, Campus Recreation, Community Impact, PACs, and Inter Greek Council. We are currently working with The National Society of Leadership & Success headquarters to discuss the best method to continue having students inducted into the honor society. If you are a student in this group, expect more information throughout the week.

Clubs and Organizations will not be permitted to meet on campus during this period. We understand that groups still have a lot to prepare for and discuss, so we suggest the following actions be taken:

  • Groups host paper meetings where all the reports are sent to the group’s secretary for them to distribute.
  • Groups host Zoom or Skype meetings/Conference calls.
  • Groups limited meeting collectively off campus. If meetings must occur keep frequency of meetings low and number of attendees (under 20 people).
  • Groups should practice social distancing when possible.
  • Group members must practice appropriate hygiene (washing hands, cleaning up after selves, etc.).

As always, Student Life is devoted to student development & engagement and will look for methods to keep the students immersed in the campus experience even while participating remotely. Continue to use appropriate health and safety precautions when in the community and outdoors. If any student organization has specific questions regarding upcoming events and programs, or advice on how to move forward please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

Regards,Tevis D. Bryant, M.S.Ed.

March 15, 2020: UPDATED COVID-19 Operations and Services

Beginning Monday, March 16, all PSU facilities will be closed to the public. Only students, faculty, and staff with active Plymouth State University ID cards will be able to enter facilities. This includes Lamson Library, Prospect Dining Hall, Hartman Union Building (HUB), ALLWell North, Merrill Place Conference Center, PSU Field House (including the swimming pool), Welcome Center/Ice Arena, and all other facilities.

The Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State will be closed until at least Monday, April 6.

If you (students or Parents) are returning to campus to collect essentials today (Sunday, March 15):

  • The Hartman Union Building (HUB) will be open from 11 am until 6 pm with limited services
  • The Plymouth State Mail Center will be open for package pick up from 2 pm until 5 pm
  • Health Services will be open from 4 pm until 8 pm for pick-up of needed medications, etc.*
  • Administration and staff will be available and on campus most of the day if there are any specific issues that need to be addressed. Please call (603) 535-2475.

If you are returning to campus to collect essentials Monday, March 16 or Tuesday, March 17:

  • The Hartman Union Building (HUB) will be open from 10 am to 7 pm with limited services
  • The Plymouth State Mail Center will be open for normal operating hours (9 am to 4 pm)
  • Health Services will be open for normal operating hours (8 am to 4:30 pm)

For the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus/COVID-19, visit www.plymouth.edu/coronavirus. This is an ongoing situation that can change rapidly.

* Note: If you are on campus and exhibiting symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus, do not go to Health Services. Please contact Health Services via phone at (603) 535-2350.

March 13, 2020: COVID-19 Update: March 13, 2020 Q&A Session
March 13, 2020: UPDATED COVID-19 CAMPUS INFORMATION

Dear students,

If you are following the news and other USNH announcements, you know the situation remains very fluid and changes hourly in many cases.  Please check your email often as there may be additional details and changes.   We have a dedicated team that is working around the clock to address this complex situation.   We will work hard to provide answers to questions as decisions are made. We appreciate your concern and questions about COVID-19 and the health of our community. This is an unprecedented situation and want to ensure our campus community we are operating with the daily advice and guidelines of the CDC, the NH Department of Health, the Governor’s office, as well as with other institutions within the USNH, CCSNH, the state and region—including all the way up to the White House coordinator for COVID-19 in the US, Dr. Deborah Birx.

Crucial Details contained in the message:

  • Students are encouraged to stay home until Monday April 6th and access their academic work online beginning Wednesday March 18th
  • Classes will begin moving online on Wednesday, March 18th.   There will be no in-person classes until at least Monday April 6th.
  • Students who must to return to campus may do so beginning Sunday March 15th.  Food service will be available.
  • Classes are scheduled to resume their normal formats on April 6thbut this could change based on the ever-changing national, state and local situation.

Planning for the Semester and Future

  • Faculty is working to move all classes online as quickly as possible.  
  • Students should check their PSU email and Moodle courses frequently to be aware of any updates and adjustments to instruction.
  • Online instruction may include but is not limited to: synchronous Zoom classes, Moodle assignments and alternative modes of assessment, Kaltura video lectures and supplemental materials, etc. We understand this learning curve may be steep and not applicable to all types of instruction.
  • PSU Help Desk staff are prepared to help students needing assistance with alternative learning environments like online, synchronous Zoom classes, using webcams, and other technology. Please contact PSU Help Desk for assistance:

Information Technology Services

Phone: (603) 535-2929
Email: helpdesk@plymouth.edu
Chat on-line:  Chat with ITS
Search our How-to Documentation at:  http://go.plymouth.edu/support
Visit in person at the main Information Desk in Lamson Library

Submit a Support Ticket  or check the Status of an Existing Request (requires authentication with your myPlymouth username and password)

  • All online courses will continue to follow ADA guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact our Campus Accessibility Services office for assistance.

Connectivity Concerns:

We recognize some students may have difficulty accessing reliable internet during this unusual time. Make sure to communicate with your faculty if this applies to your situation so they provide guidance and assistance. If you feel comfortable doing so, we encourage individuals to use local resources where possible (public libraries, local wifi hotspots, etc.). These provide opportunities at least to connect with faculty, students, and campus to make accommodations and to communicate regular updates, assignments, and expectations.

Experiential Learning:

We have many students enrolled in experiential learning classes that are difficult to teach/modify online: lab classes, student teaching internships, physical activity courses, clinical work, dance, music, studio art, internships, field experiences, etc. For on-campus experiential learning, faculty will work with students and colleagues to determine alternatives to face to face instruction.  As of right now, we suggest that all off-campus learning experiences continue as usual unless the host institution or organization announces a change or closure. (For one example, on the recommendation of our Nursing Director, our junior and senior Nursing students are withdrawing from their clinicals in area hospitals and will be supplementing their work with simulation lab experiences.) Mary Earick and the Holmes Center will be sending out a message specific to student teaching interns soon. 

Student Housing

One important factor we considered when deciding to return to campus was the number of students who depend on campus housing and dining for a safe and stable home environment. As such, students may return to campus beginning Sunday afternoon. For those students (and faculty) who have traveled internationally or to one of the designated North American ‘hotstops’ (see previous PSU email from March 11 and CDC guidelines), we ask that you remain at home in self-isolation/quarantine for at least 14 days, per CDC regulations.

We recognize this is a tough situation and there are no right answers. We understand that for many of you this is your final semester in college or you may be participating in once-in-a-lifetime internships and professional experiences. We want to honor those to the best of our ability, while at the same time maintaining a close eye on the evolving health situation.

Please be aware that we are working directly with the most informed health officials in our region and the nation. The situation is fluid and we will continue to update you as we learn more and if our circumstances change. 

We know that there are still questions we are not able to answer at this time.   Additional information will be delivered to you as soon as it’s available.    Please continue to check your email and the PSU Coronavirus Information page on our website.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time.

March 12, 2020: Important COVID-19 Update

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As a follow-up to the message sent last night, I’m sharing an adjustment to our planned schedule and also the context in which the decision to keep the campus open was made.

To better prepare for returning students and to provide additional planning time for the best multi-model learning experience, we anticipate that classes will begin on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. We plan that the vast majority of classes will be available online however students will hear from their instructors regarding any changes to that schedule. 

Our hope is that we will be able to transition to a normal in-person class schedule by Monday April 6, 2020, however this could change at any time as the situation evolves.

Students are not required to be on campus at this time.

However, for students who need or want to come back to campus for any reason and are not subject to the PSU travel quarantine policy currently in placeCampus will open Sunday, March 15, 2020.  You can review the self-quarantine policy on the PSU Coronavirus Information page on our website.

Faculty and staff will work closely with students to assure they have all the academic support they need and that the experience is a positive one.  We ask your patience as we work together to move our academic life online.

The USNH Board of Trustees met yesterday to determine the best course of action. I participated in the meeting along with the presidents of UNH, Keene, and Granite State, and we agreed that all of our schools will implement the decision to remain open. This decision is supported by Governor Sununu, who has been consistent in wanting campuses to stay open, and informed with the latest data and expertise from Dr. Benjamin Chan, NH state epidemiologist, and Beth Daly, chief of the NH Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, and is consistent with current CDC guidelines. 

To be clear, UNH and Keene are also opening after their Spring Break just as we are. However, their campuses have Spring Break starting tomorrow, while we are at the end of ours. That is the primary difference. UNH has decided to go fully online and will keep their campus open but students will have limited access to residence halls and services. Keene plans on following a mixed mode of delivery, meaning students will have the option of online learning combined with in-person classes. 

The question for us was, before the outbreak grew any further, should we allow our students back or should we wait? Since the virus has not spread as much as it may in the next week or so, we concluded that further waiting might only make matters worse and be less safe.  

It’s important to remember that over 50 percent of our students are from New Hampshire and PSU is home for many of them.

The situation is very fluid so things could change, but after weighing all of the options, I believe this to be the best approach.

There are still details being worked out and you will be receiving additional information from Academic Affairs, Student Life, and other areas over the coming days in response to your questions regarding processes and procedures.

Tomorrow (Friday) I will be holding a Q&A session at 11:00 am in the HUB Hage Room for those than are able to attend.  For those who can’t attend in person, the session will be recorded and will be available for viewing tomorrow afternoon. We will also make it available live via Zoom if possible. You will be informed once we have those details.

Finally, I know this is stressful and there are many unanswered questions for all of us. Please be assured that many people with great expertise are advising us on how to successfully navigate this situation in a safe and logical manner.

Sincerely,
Donald Birx

March 11, 2020: Important COVID-19 Update

To all members of the Plymouth State community: 

This is the latest in a series of regular messages to keep you updated on planning and decision-making related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We have no higher priority than the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and others affiliated with PSU. 

This message details the following:

  • Classes Will Resume as Scheduled on Monday, March 16, 2020 
  • Updated Self-Quarantine Policy
  • All Students Can Access Classes Online If Needed
  • Residence Halls Will Open as Planned on Sunday, March 15, 2020

Classes Will Resume as Scheduled on Monday, March 16, 2020

The University has developed a broad range of contingency plans to ensure continuity of learning and campus life for the remainder of the spring semester. As Spring Break ends and students return to campus, we will be monitoring all campus operations. We have developed a rigorous decision-making protocol that integrates several critical inputs. These factors include—but are not limited to—guidance from public health authorities, operational and logistical conditions, and conversations with other University System of New Hampshire (USNH) institutions, the USNH Board of Trustees, and the New Hampshire Governor’s Office.

In addition to recommendations from the sources cited above, we also took into consideration students who have no home other than PSU and those in situations where they are not able to return home for a variety of reasons.     

At the time of this writing (Wednesday, March 11), we will resume classes on Monday, March 16, as planned and campus will be open for business.

Updated Self-Quarantine Policy

It’s important to note these updates to our 14-Day Self-Quarantine Policy for any students, faculty, and staff until further notice.  If you fall into any of the following categories please plan to follow our self-quarantine policy:

  • Anyone that is identified to have been in close contact with a person with suspect or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Anyone that has traveled to any European Country or Asia.
  • Anyone that has been on cruise. 
  • Anyone who has traveled to, visited, or spent time in three specific U.S. areas, including the New York City metro area, Seattle metro area, and Southern California. Additionally, anyone who has traveled to a municipality that has announced active measures to limit community exposure such as closing schools, limiting large gatherings (for example, Westchester and New Rochelle, NY).

If you fall into any of the above categories we are asking you to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, which is the length of time needed for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear and for a possible diagnosis to be made.

In addition, anyone who becomes ill before returning to campus with a fever or respiratory illness will not be allowed back on campus until they are without fever for at least 24 hours (off any fever reducing medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen) and symptoms have improved or resolved.

All Other students will be allowed on campus, but if they develop symptoms of fever, respiratory illness, or other flu-like illness after returning from Spring break, will require immediate evaluation by the college/university health center before being allowed to return to classes. 

All Students Can Access Classes Online

While we look forward to students returning to campus, we understand that there are some students and families who may not be comfortable doing this. Courseswill be available virtually through Moodle, e-mail, Zoom, or other technologies for any student who self-quarantines and/or chooses to not return to campus for any reason. More details will be forthcoming on how to access courses and assignments virtually and how classes/activities that may not be able to transition to a virtual system will be handled.

Residence Halls Will Open as Planned on Sunday, March 15, 2020

Returning students should contact their community advisors regarding any health-related issues or questions. Community advisors will have access to on-call health professionals who can answer specific questions or concerns.

Commuter students and students living off-campus should call 603-535-2475 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday evening March 15th if they have health related questions upon returning to Plymouth. 

All members of the community should continue consulting the PSU Coronavirus Information webpage, which is updated as needed. 

Keep Practicing Good Prevention Steps

It is important to practice good respiratory hygiene, which includes frequently washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and other critical steps outlined by the CDC.  

We encourage faculty, staff, and students to continue to be vigilant in preventing the spread of illness. Although COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind, it is also cold and flu season. Some of the best prevention methods for any respiratory illness, in addition to what is mentioned above, is staying home when you are sick, not going to class or to work if you are feeling ill, and contacting your medical provider. 

If you are a student and do not have a medical provider, please contact health services at 603-535-2350.

We appreciate that this is a stressful time for many members of our community. Our monitoring of this unprecedented situation is continuous, and we are prepared to quickly act as needed to safeguard our community and allow the University to fulfill its mission. 

Please look for additional messages over the coming days.

We look forward to resuming the final weeks of the Spring Semester together.

March 5, 2020: Spring Break Reminders

Dear Students:

We continue to work closely with state and federal agencies to monitor the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

While there are no current plans to alter the academic schedule we must prepare for multiple contingencies, including teaching remotely for periods of time.

We ask that you bring important course materials and tools, (including books and laptops/tablets) home with you over Spring Break. This will enable you to continue your studies if you are unable to return to campus for any reason. (This is good practice anyway, regardless of the COVID-19 situation.)

In addition, it is very important that you check your email daily throughout next week for any updates on the current COVID-19 planning at PSU.  You can also find the latest announcements and plans on the PSU Coronavirus Information webpage.

No matter your plans for Spring Break please make yourself familiar with the prevention tips provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html    These are especially important if you are traveling through major transportation hubs (airports, train stations, etc.,) and/or traveling anywhere by airplane.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Finally, please remember that updated information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and the PSU Coronavirus Information webpage.

Have a restful, safe and healthy break.

March 3, 2020: Important COVID-19 Travel Update

Dear Campus Community:

The global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly changing situation and we are in regular contact with state and federal authorities for the latest information.

As of today, there are NO confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases on the PSU campus or among our students, faculty, and staff.

Because of the current situation in Italy, PSU students involved in study abroad programs there will soon return to the United States.We have been in constant communication with these students and are assisting them with any issues that might arise as they safely make their way back home.  

Once they arrive at their home in the U.S. these students will remain off campus for 14 days, which is the length of time needed for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear and for a possible diagnosis to be made. We are providing these students with information on how to care for their health, how to monitor for symptoms, and what to do if symptoms occur. 

After the 14 day period, each student will be required to provide medical clearance before they can return to campus.

Students returning to the US from Italian study abroad sites will receive online classes through their Study Abroad program to accommodate this disruption in their studies. In addition to these classes, the associate provost and the entire Academic Affairs Team will work with the students to help them fulfill any additional requirements.

These requirements will also apply to any students, faculty or staff that might travel to Italy or to any locations determined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or the U.S. State Department to be a Travel Warning Level 3 or Level 4 during Spring Break.

A reminder to everyone: Because COVID-19 and all respiratory illnesses are most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, everyone should take the same precautions as those recommended to prevent the spread of influenza:

  • If sick, stay home and avoid public places (i.e. social distancing)
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid being within six feet (close contact) of a person who is sick
  • Avoid sharing drinks, smoking/vaping devices, or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth, and rubbing your eyes
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces with household cleaning sprays and wipes

Your safety and well-being are our top priority. We will continue to send updates as appropriate with information specific to our community, but we also encourage monitoring the latest news from trusted health sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are currently no recommended restrictions on travel within the US, but this is an evolving situation. For all travel we recommend reviewing information from the US State Department and the CDC.

You can also keep informed of all PSU information related to this situation at http://go.plymouth.edu/coronavirus.

March 2, 2020: COVID-19 in NH Update

Good Evening:

As many of you may have heard there has been confirmation of a coronavirus patient here in New Hampshire. 

I am writing to let you know that while this patient is identified as being in Grafton County the patient is not a PSU student, faculty or staff member.

We have no suspected coronavirus cases within the PSU community. 

As always, we will work to keep everyone updated as any additional information is provided to us by state or federal agencies related to this situation.   You can keep informed of all information related to this situation at http://go.plymouth.edu/coronavirus

February 28, 2020: Coronavirus Update: Spring Break Travel

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff:

Plymouth State University is continuing to monitor the current 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and University leaders are planning for a broad range of contingencies.

As PSU’s Spring Break approaches please review the following important information, request and reminders regarding travel:

  • PSU’s Spring Break week officially begins at the end of classes on Friday, March 6.
  • If you plan to travel internationally anywhere over Spring Break we encourage you to contact the University with your travel plans, especially if you are planning to travel to any of the following nations and regions: Mainland China, Hong Kong (SAR), Macau (SAR), Brunei, Cambodia, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, or Vietnam. This will allow us to assist you with specific resources and guidance.
  • Please e-mail your travel plans to:

Katie Caron, Director of Environmental, Health & Safety

krcaron@plymouth.edu

  • If you are planning to travel to China for a personal trip, please remember to check with the airlines. Many flights to and from China have been suspended (other than flights out of China for US citizens). Please note that non-US citizens who may be able to travel to China are not guaranteed return to the US, given the current travel restrictions. Chinese citizens whose passports have been issued by the provinces that have been especially impacted may not be allowed to leave China.
  • In addition to China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea, and as of this writing Italy has placed travel restrictions on regions in northern Italy.
  • You can review the CDC FAQ section for travelers here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html#air-cruise-travel
  • Please review our Coronavirus Information webpage, https://www.plymouth.edu/coronavirus-information, for current information and future updates.

As always, the safety, security and well-being of all our campus community is our top priority.    Have a restful and enjoyable break.

February 26, 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Campus Update

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We are writing to share updated information about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The health and safety of our community is our highest priority. As we shared in our January update to campus, we are attentive to the global health outbreak and are closely monitoring this situation.

Imported cases of the virus in travelers returning to the United States have been detected and person-to-person spread has been seen among close contacts of travelers returning specifically from Wuhan, China, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the US. However, we are acutely aware of the emergent nature of this virus and are tracking the situation closely. 

We have a leadership team that is planning for a broad range of contingencies and will share additional information as it becomes available.

To keep the campus community updated on the situation we have created a webpage at https://www.plymouth.edu/coronavirus-information, which will be updated as new information is available.

PSU has 25 students studying abroad for the spring 2020 semester. We are following all medical and public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). For additional travel and health advisories, PSU is following health and safety recommendations from the US Department of State and our international partners. This includes working closely with PSU’s largest international partner, CIS Abroad, https://www.cisabroad.com, and its Risk Management Team.

We are sensitive to the concerns of our students abroad and their loved ones. Dr. Barbara Lopez-Mayhew, director of the Global Engagement Office (GEO), and Ian Lim-Bonner, our study abroad advisor, are workingwith individual students to support their decisions and to provide academic and logistical advice and resources, relying on our education partnerships and risk management resources abroad and on campus. Independent of the University’s recommendations, we understand that students and families will need to make decisions that work best for them and determine additional ways we can assist each of them.

We encourage everyone to monitor the latest news from trusted health sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the CDC stresses that the immediate risk of this virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone is encouraged to do their part in response to this emerging public health threat. It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. The CDC provides information about the virus and the latest updates on the situation.

Additional Resources

Additional information about coronavirus, including signs and symptoms, transmission and risk of exposure, what to do if you are exhibiting symptoms, and continuing updates about the disease are available at

The University is continuously monitoring the situation and will update this page with relevant information as it becomes available.

COVID-19 Resource Compendium

MAPS AND STATISTICS
US DHHS CDC Global COVID-19 Map
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html#map

US DHHS CDC US Outbreak Statistics
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

COVID-19 Outbreak Tracker.  Kaiser Family Foundation
https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/fact-sheet/coronavirus-tracker/

US Dpt of State Travel Advisories
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

DEFINITIONS, BACKGROUND, PLANS, LEGAL AUTHORITIES
US DHHS Public Health Emergency Declaration
https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/2019-nCoV.aspx

Flu Types, definitions, and naming conventions.   US DHHS CDC
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm

Pandemic Phases,  World Health Organization (2009 H1N1)
https://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/phase/en/

US Government Accountability Office.  GAO Report  “Science & Tech Spotlight: Coronaviruses” (GAO-20-472SP) on March 3, 2020.
https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/705075.pdf

INTERNATIONAL SITES
World Health Organization  (WHO)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

EU European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  COVID-19 site
https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china

UK Government COVID-19 Publications
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Canada Government COVID-19 Info Page
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html

Mexico Government Dpt of Health COVID-19 Page
https://www.gob.mx/salud/documentos/nuevo-coronavirus-2019-ncov-comunicado-tecnico-diario?idiom=es

Australian Government.  Dpt of Health COVID-19 Resource page
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

US GOVERNMENT SITES
US DHHS National Institutes of Health (NIH)
https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus

US DHHS CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

US DHHS CDC Travel Health Notices
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices?deliveryName=USCDC_1150-DM20414

US DHHS CDC Weekly COVID-19 newsletter updates
https://tools.cdc.gov/CampaignProxyService/subscriptions.aspx

USA GOV International Traveler Issues for Americans
https://www.usa.gov/americans-abroad#item-214568

US National Governors Association.  COVID-19 Site
https://www.nga.org/coronavirus/