Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Campus Updates
Access to Virtual Support Services for Students
Methodist College Announces Extension of Online Learning Through the Remainder of the Semester
In compliance with the announced continuation of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's Stay-At-Home Executive Order through April 30, Methodist College has announced the extension of online learning through the remainder of the spring semester. Faculty will continue with online instruction and alternative assignments for clinical, laboratory, simulation, and practicum experiences.
Methodist College staff are providing virtual services for counseling, advising, library support, tutoring, coaching, technology support, financial aid, and billing. The college's testing center is providing ADA accommodated testing and make-up testing.
On March 25, the college announced the postponement of the spring commencement ceremony and associated activities. College administrators are in the process of determining alternate opportunities to celebrate the students' accomplishments.
There are limited personnel working at the college's campus. The main telephone number at (309) 672-5513 will be answered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The college will continue to operate under modified hours of operation from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., seven days per week with restricted access to the campus, unless by appointment.
In an earlier announcement to students, Methodist College Chancellor Dr. James Dire stated, "We are still on track to complete the Spring 2020 semester according to our academic calendar and confer all earned degrees and certificates on time."
As a result of current public health concerns, Methodist College administrators have made the decision to postpone the Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony scheduled for May 16 and any associated activities. While specific alternate plans have not been determined, administrators are hopeful to have the opportunity at a later date to celebrate the accomplishments of students graduating in nursing, healthcare management, social work, and medical assistant programs.
"We understand the disappointment this decision presents to our students and their families, and our faculty and staff," said Methodist College Chancellor Dr. James Dire. "I am proud of the herculean effort put forth by our Methodist College community as we have moved all of our classroom and clinical instruction to online platforms. As a result, we are still on track to complete the Spring 2020 semester according to our academic calendar and confer all earned degrees and certificates on time. We look forward to celebrating our students' accomplishments at a time and place that is appropriate in light of current national and global conditions."
In compliance with the direction in Governor Pritzker's Executive Order, Methodist College will continue with online instruction and alternative assignments for clinical, laboratory, simulation, and practicum experiences as planned through April 12, 2020. We will re-evaluate the situation not later than April 8 to determine if this date needs to be extended based on the situation as it exists at that time. We will communicate further on April 8.
Faculty and staff will be working remotely in many cases. Please use email addresses to reach them as your first mode of communication. The main number at Methodist College will be answered between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For your reference the main number is (309) 672-5513.
Methodist College will begin new, temporary hours of operation, effective Sunday March 22. These new hours will be from 7:00 am - 6:30 pm, 7 days per week. Students shall not access the building unless they have an appointment or if they have instruction from their faculty to come for testing. The Testing Center will be available for ADA accommodated students by appointment only.
Please watch your email for further communications as they develop. The text of the Executive Order pertinent to educational institutions is reproduced below:
Educational institutions. Educational institutions-including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning, perfom1ing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. This Executive Order is consistent with and does not amend or supersede Executive Order 2020-05 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 3) or Executive Order 2020-06 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 4) except that affected schools are ordered closed through April 7, 2020;
State of Illinois Governor's Executive Order - COVID-19 - Order No. 8
IMPORTANT SUPPORT SERVICES FOR STUDENTS
OASIS at Methodist College - As stress is undoubtedly running high for many during this time of uncertainty, please know there are many online mental health resources available. You can find a variety of resources at this link, as well as on the OASIS D2L page.
Students can schedule a free counseling session with our Student Counselor.
Methodist College Library - The library offers hundreds of ebooks that can be accessed from off-campus while the campus (and physical library space) is restricted. Learn more on how to access library services off-campus.
Center for Student Success - Even though the college is closed physically, the CSS staff can meet with students virtually through the online Zoom platform. If you have an appointment scheduled or would like to schedule a virtual meeting, then please contact Melissa Williams or Tricia Fox. Visit Zoom to create a free account.
Also, keep in mind the CSS YouTube channel has many helpful videos on a wide variety of topics.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR METHODIST COLLEGE STUDENTS: Please check your Methodist College email for important information regarding clinical, practicum, simulation and lab experiences.
In order to continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for our campus community the college is enacting the following restrictions, as per UPH guidelines:
- Methodist College is restricting in-person, vendor visits for sales and marketing calls, routine business reviews, and any other non-critical meetings. Vendor visits required for business critical functions (equipment repair, facility maintenance, custodial services, delivery of packages, and necessary goods and services) are permissible with the appropriate screening and precautions. This change is to reduce risk of exposure to our college community and vendors given heightened awareness of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Allowed vendors and delivery personnel must enter the campus through the front doors and check in with Campus Safety.
- We are restricting any on-campus meetings that include non-college personnel. If you have any meetings scheduled with any individuals from the community, please make other arrangements by either postponing the meeting or using teleconferencing or online meeting options.
- Methodist College has already cancelled several community events. College leadership is continuing to monitor conditions and public health recommendations and will make determinations regarding the continuation of events that are already on the calendar.
- UPH has stopped all unnecessary travel for meetings between campuses to support the current UPH travel restrictions. If needed, you will have to use either v-tel, conference lines, and/or GoToMeetings for ALL meetings that involve cross-campus personnel. Make sure all off-campus attendees are aware that they should use conference lines, v-tel or GoToMeetings for ALL meetings (board members, clinic and hospital staff, etc.) Originators of the meetings need to ensure that options are listed in the appointments.
- Campus visits with individual prospective students will be moved to phone or video conference options. Non-scheduled, walk-in visits are discouraged. The college recruitment staff will be making phone and video conference appointments. Prospective students can go to www.methodistcol.edu/campus-visit-days and make an appointment with one of the recruitment staff.
- Students will have limited access to campus during this time. Those who have SIM, CPC, or testing needs are working with their instructors. Instructors must provide information to Campus Safety regarding students who have a required need to come on to campus.
Update from Provost Dr. Deborah Garrison:
Starting on 3/16/20, ALL theory classes will be online, as will all science laboratories. Clinicals (including simulation) will continue for the foreseeable future. There will be meetings with UPH this week, so if this changes, the college will inform students. Students coming on campus for Simulation will need to stop by Campus Safety and let them know which Simulation they are attending. In all cases, students should follow their faculty member's instructions.
Methodist College will cease face to face instruction at close of business on Sunday, March 15 at midnight.
All classes will transition to online instruction effective Monday, March 16 until further notice.
Clinical classes, externship, and internship will continue to be scheduled. Students in those courses should be in communication with their faculty for further information.
Methodist College is committed to ensuring students will be able to complete all coursework this semester.
Methodist College operations will continue. Faculty, staff, and student workers are to report to work as under regular conditions.
Additional information regarding access to academic support services will be provided next week.
Access to the building will be closed to students during this time including the Recreation Center and the Fitness Center. Information on how to make individual appointments for services will be provided next week. UPDATE: Students participating in on-campus Simulation or Guided Practice in the CPC per instruction from their faculty, may come on campus, but MUST check in with Campus Safety.
There are no changes to the operation of the Prairie Sky Apartments and students are encouraged to practice social distancing.
We will continue to provide updates via email and all updates are posted at www.methodistcol.edu/coronavirus.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be front page in the news. Community transmission has been reported in the United States. At Methodist College | UnityPoint Health we are carefully monitoring the situation with the virus to stay prepared and keep our communities safe and healthy.
There are no cases of the virus in central Illinois and no suspected cases of the virus on the Methodist College campus.
The following information is provided by Rosanna Rosa, MD, an infectious diseases doctor with UnityPoint Health.
What Is the Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a new type of virus that belongs to a large family of viruses called Coronaviruses. Many of these infect humans, others infect animals, but this new strain has not been seen in humans before.
How Has Coronavirus Spread?
In terms of where it started, it seems to have originated in Wuhan, China. Early reports were linking cases to the seafood and animal market over there. As of March 5, there have been more than 200 U.S. cases including several linked to person-to-person spread. Eleven people in the U.S. have died from the virus.
What Are Coronavirus Symptoms?
We know most people infected have fever, cough and shortness of breath. Milder symptoms can include body aches, and less frequently diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
How Is Coronavirus Transmitted Between People?
It is transmitted through respiratory droplets, which are essentially just tiny particles that are put out there into the world when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. According to the CDC, it may be possible for someone to get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Is Coronavirus Treatable?
Right now, there is no specific medication or vaccine against this Novel Coronavirus. If someone gets sick, the type of treatment they would receive is more to alleviate symptoms and if they get very sick then they would receive other types of supportive therapies in the hospital.
Who Is Most at Risk for Coronavirus?
We know there is what we call a spectrum of illness. Many people have had what would be considered a mild illness including some fever, some body aches and things like that. But others have gotten really sick. The information that has come out from large case reports from China continues to support that it's elderly patients and patients with underlying illnesses that are at the highest risk of developing severe illness or even death. To define further, that means elderly patients and those ones who have underlying heart disease, chronic lung disease, and conditions along those lines.
What Are We Doing at Methodist College?
We are following guidance provided by UnityPoint Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and federal higher education agencies.
What's the Recommendation for Travel?
The CDC has issued a level three warning and that essentially recommends people avoid all non-essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.
Should We Be Worried About Coronavirus?
The number of cases in the U.S. are low. There are other things far scarier, at this point, for the Midwest. Influenza activity remains high. There's been an estimated 32 million cases of flu, 310,000 hospitalization and 18,000 deaths from it. The good thing is we have a vaccine for the flu.
What Can Help Protect Us from All Viruses?
We continue to recommend handwashing. If you don't have soap and water available, then it's OK to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's important to avoid contact with people who are looking sick. And, if you are sick yourself, stay home and give yourself a day or two to actually get better. Then the other thing is to keep the surfaces at your home clean. It is also important for individuals to get a flu vaccine.
Where Can We Find Accurate Coronavirus Information?
You can find accurate and updated information from us at Methodist College | UnityPoint Health and from the CDC. It is encouraging to see that the CDC has been partnering with some of the big internet browser companies to make their results pop to the top of your during searches.