March 3, 2020
Statement from Dr. Fred Carter, FMU President – March 3, 2020
Message from Dr. Fred Carter, president Francis Marion University to FMU faculty and staff.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the globe, generating substantial concern and apprehension internationally and domestically. As most of you know, this is a new virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness and, in some instances, serious medical complications.
We have been monitoring the virus for the past few weeks and engaged in discussions with other universities, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC), the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (SCIMPH) and medical practitioners specializing in epidemiology.
While there have been no confirmed cases in South Carolina thus far, we’re using the information gleaned from these sources to develop current and future contingency plans. Of course, nearly two-thirds of the FMU community (faculty, staff and students) commute to campus each day, so any plans we implement to address COVID-19 will be dependent upon a coordinated community effort.
That said, we have taken several steps that we believe to be prudent:
- The university has cancelled all spring break trips abroad involving FMU students, and we are reassessing study abroad trips scheduled for late spring and summer on a case-by-case basis;
- We are blanketing university buildings, on campus and downtown, with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information on best practices for infectious disease prevention, and we are increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations in our buildings;
- We’ve reached an agreement with Hope Health to provide additional healthcare professionals at the university health clinic should circumstances warrant. In conjunction with other community partners, we’re also exploring additional contingencies that will enhance our ability to respond collaboratively to the current situation.
Medical understanding of COVID-19 is growing daily, and new information will continue to influence and direct our preparations. You can stay abreast of DHEC, CDC, and FMU information and actions at our health advisory page: https://www.fmarion.edu/healthadvisory/
Should you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please call or come by the university to discuss them. On this, as in so many other matters, you serve as one of our best sources of advice and counsel.