Unity College Students, Faculty and Staff,

The spring semester is flying by and it is almost time for spring break! This is always a welcome half way point where we take some much anticipated and needed rest and relaxation.  This year, however, some of our plans, especially our travel plans, may be affected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 

We here at Unity College are staying apprised of the 2019-nCoV situation.  We have established a task force to monitor and adjust our policies and protocols as the situation evolves.  Your safety is of the utmost importance to us.  At this time the risk to our students, faculty, and staff remains minimal as the virus and its spread are limited. 

That being said, the virus is spreading around the globe, including here in the United States.  The number of cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV in the USA remain relatively low, however there have recently been cases detected in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Quebec, and community spread has occurred in Oregon, Washington and California.  As of today, there are no confirmed or suspected cases here in Maine. 

The countries with the most cases remain China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Iran and Hong Kong. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued travel advisories to these countries.  For our students who have plans to travel internationally or to areas of known risk in the near future, please reach out to Dean Ray Phinney and make him aware of your plans.  Faculty and staff with upcoming travel plans need to advise their immediate supervisor and head of their SEBU or functional area. 

As this situation is continuing to evolve, I have included the link here with the most up to date information as provided by the CDChttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.  This link provides access to all the information the CDC offers. Of course, if you think you might be at risk please take the necessary steps to limit your exposure to others while you seek medical attention.  The link above provides information on the best way to do this.

Preventative actions are always a good first step to stop or contain the spread of any virus, particularly this one, so we encourage you to take the following preventative actions as recommended by the CDC.  These are some simple actions you can take daily to reduce the risk of infection, including:

  • 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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 you have questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or think you might be sick, the Unity College Wellness Center can be reached by calling 207-509-7126 during the week, or if  you need care after hours you can contact your R.A. or a member of the Residence Life staff.   There are several urgent care facilities in Waterville, Bangor, and Belfast as well as major hospitals in all three towns. 

If you have additional questions or need more information regarding Unity College’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) response plan, please reach out to Dean Phinney at 207-509-7241 or via email at RPhinney@unity.edu

Times like this remind us that Unity College is not insulated from the rest of the world.  We are multi-state, multi-national college, engaging with learners across the country and world.  To that end I encourage everyone to retain an inclusive mindset while maintaining proper diligence in our actions.  Unity College will not, nor should it, tolerate any acts of discrimination against members of our community based on their country of origin or where they have traveled.  Our efforts should be focused on supporting one another with care and information anchored in facts – today, tomorrow and in the months ahead. 

In Unity,

Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
Unity College