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A Community Message from Olin President Rick Miller: COVID-19 Important Updates

Olin College campus

A message from President Miller

Dear Olin Community, 

In the past few days, I’m sure many of you, like me, have seen the growth of COVID-19 cases continue to spread in your communities and around the world.  Our Community Health Response Team (Rae-Anne Butera, Jeremy Goodman and Beth Grampetro) has been working tirelessly to keep up to date on fast-changing information, recommend responses and answer the questions that many of you have raised.  While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time, it is clear now that it is important for us all to do our part to try to slow the spread of this virus.  To that end, we are taking additional actions today that are intended to limit exposure to disease among members of our community.

We do not take these actions lightly, but the health and well-being of our community must always be our first priority, and with the anticipated surge in travel over spring break this is the right time to implement further measures.  As a result, Olin will be implementing the following actions below:  

Courses and On Campus Residency After Spring Break 

After spring break Olin will move to virtual instruction for all courses until further notice.  Classes are not being cancelled — they are moving online.  This will mean different things to different classes, but the faculty will work together to ensure that all students can complete this semester's coursework.  Classes will meet in person tomorrow, Thursday and Friday in order to provide an opportunity for each class to plan accordingly. 

Students should not plan to return to campus after spring break.  We do not yet know when it will be advisable for students to return to campus, therefore students should take as many of their belongings with them as possible when they leave.  For many students, spring break means going home.  For those students who can’t return home, it might mean going to stay with a friend or relative.  We also recognize that there may be students whose circumstances are such that they have no viable option but to stay on campus.  

The Student Affairs office will follow this message with a separate email containing instructions and support for students and will follow up with any students whose circumstances may require staying on campus.  

Faculty and Staff 

The College remains open.  We are not requiring employees to work remotely unless they meet the self-quarantine conditions described below.  Faculty and staff should work with their teams over the next few days to identify critical functions that require an on-campus presence and a plan for how to continue them if the College’s work becomes primarily remote for a period of time.  

Travel  

All Olin-related or -sponsored travel is suspended until further notice. This includes any travel that is being paid for with College funds or is on behalf of or in service of the College.  Olin also discourages all community members from undertaking personal travel. 

We host many visitors over the course of the year to our Needham campus.  As a result of these updated measures, Admission and Financial Aid and External Engagement will suspend all in-person visits to campus at this time.   

Self-Quarantine 

If you are or a member of your household is ill with respiratory symptoms and fever or has come into close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19/coronavirus or been contacted by the Board of Health, you must self-quarantine for at least 14 days after the possible exposure. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.  

In practice, self-quarantine means: 

  • A faculty or staff member should stay home and contact your primary healthcare provider or urgent care center.  Please notify your supervisor, who will work with Human Resources to accommodate the business needs of staff and faculty who need to self-quarantine. 
  • A student who is sick on campus should contact Health Services or contact a local urgent care center.  We also ask that you notify Beth Grampetro at bgrampetro@olin.edu

Staying Healthy 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water!  This is the best form of prevention. 
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, immediately throw it out and wash your hands.  If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. 
  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick. 
  • If you feel sick, contact your health care provider. For students, this means contacting Babson Health Services or utilizing a local urgent care facility if Health Services is not open. 

Staying Informed 

The CHRT will continue to deliver the most critical updates by email, but for all other information please visit the Olin website and/or reach out to your supervisor.  CHRT is also ready to answer any questions you may have as this situation continues to evolve.  They can be reached directly via email at chrt@olin.edu 

I recognize that these measures will pose challenges for some of you and I want you to know that we are committed to providing everyone in the Olin community with the support they need to navigate these changes.  The wellbeing of our community is paramount and our goal in the end is to do what we can to keep our community safe and healthy.   

Best regards,

Rick 

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit Olin's Emergency Preparedness site