Dear faculty and staff:
We are writing with several additional updates based on developments over the last 24 hours.
- As you know, most area schools have closed through March 27, creating a significant challenge for many employees and their families. We anticipate that other service providers will likely be closing or restricting operations as well.
- The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Southern Maine and expects to see community transmission in other areas of Maine.
- CDC is concerned that large numbers of patients may require medical care and that the healthcare system may very well experience significant stress on its capacity.
- We have learned more about the investigative and quarantine approach required by the CDC in the event a member of the Colby community tests positive. The process is quite intensive, requiring detailed analysis of the person’s recent interactions with others, and the quarantine requirements are extensive.
- Some health experts are cautioning that we may, as a country, be looking at an extended period of reduced activity. This means it is all the more important that social distancing strategies be implemented as widely as possible to reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.
- The President of the United States has just put in place federal guidelines that will substantially shut down many gathering places — from schools to restaurants — for the coming weeks.
Given those developments, and our fundamental commitment to protecting the health and safety of our community, we have decided to move as quickly as possible to reduce the number of employees on campus while at the same time ensuring that we maintain critical services. To those ends:
- The vice presidents will be instructing employees within their divisions to work from home, unless key service delivery requires their presence on campus.
- Faculty should remain working from home.
- ITS has developed a resource to help those who will be working remotely that explains connecting to the fileserver, redirecting your phone, remote meeting collaboration tools, as well as other useful information: http://www.colby.edu/its/administrative-continuity/.
- If you work on campus, use your ID card to swipe into each building. While normally we suggest holding the door open for each other, using your ID will make it much easier for us to identify students, faculty, and staff who may have come into contact with an infected person and take appropriate action quickly.
- Staff employees with risk factors and those with families who may have risk factors should contact their supervisor or Human Resources (207-859-5500) to review their circumstances and how the College can support them remaining at home. Several employees have already reached out, and we encourage others to do so.
- If you are not feeling well, stay home. If you have a family member (e.g., child, partner/spouse, parent) that you need to care for, we encourage you to stay home and care for them.
- We are committed to finding ways to continue the employment, salary, and benefits of regular employees. Adjustments to schedules (including days and hours) and duties may be required, but we will work through those details with impacted employees in the days ahead.
- The Museum of Art, the athletic center, and the Colby Libraries will be closed, effective Tuesday, March 17.
- The bookstore and mailroom will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Student mail and packages will be available in the mailroom.
- The number of students on campus will continue to decrease over the next few days. We will be relocating those students remaining later this week while doing extensive cleaning of all residence and dining halls.
- Emergency response teams are planning for a range of scenarios and for how we continue to provide for the health and safety of our community.
We encourage you to view the COVID-19 website daily for updates and check with your supervisor or Human Resources if you have questions. Additional updates will be provided this week.
In the meantime, thank you again for all you are doing to support our community during this challenging time.