March 11 – Current Situation email
Dear BGSP Community,
I have received a number of questions and concerns about the coronavirus and BGSP’s preparations and plans. I would like to respond in this email.
Classes: At this time we are continuing to hold in-person classes and supervisions. We are also continuing to prepare to go online for classes and supervisions if that becomes necessary using the Zoom platform. You can prepare by having a working computer ideally with a working microphone and camera. (Laptops and tablets seem to be the easiest.) If your computer is not working, you can call in on the telephone using Zoom as well.
Some of you have asked why we are not closing, since other schools are going to an online format for classes or are preparing to do so. The schools in MA which have gone to a completely online format have many students in residence onsite as well as in classes, so their exposure is in much closer quarters and more prolonged. In fact the school is responsible for meeting all their student life needs, 24/7. These schools have also been worried about students going on and returning from Spring break after having traveled all over the country or world. Our situation at BGSP is different.
Travel: With the concern about risk associated with travel in mind, I would like to ask members of the school community to let us know if they are planning to travel on commercial airlines and to contact us before returning to BGSP if they have done so. As you know, it is recommended that no one engage in unnecessary international travel, and some health authorities recommend against any commercial airline travel if you are over 60 or have a vulnerable health condition.. In keeping with these guidelines, the May trip to Europe focusing on Freud, which we cosponsored with ACAP in NJ, has been postponed to Spring, 2021.
Cleanliness & disinfection: The school is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected two times a week on the heaviest usage days. In addition, staff is cleaning and disinfecting all touch surfaces (door knobs and handles, doorbells and buzzers, railings, faucets, toilet flushers, soap dispensers, water cooler, chair arms, couches and more) throughout the building twice a day. We will have some Lysol cans available for Therapy Center offices if you would like to disinfect between patients. (Lysol disinfects both hard and soft surfaces, such as couches.) We are waiting for our order of hand sanitizer to be delivered, hopefully by the end of the week. In the meantime, wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water. There is a bottle of hand sanitizer on the entry level table for use by all; please leave it there for all to use.
Health care: Do not come to school sick! This includes coughing and sneezing and cold symptoms even if you have no fever. Protect yourself and your classmates, students, teachers, staff and patients. Let’s take care of each other! If you need to take an absence, contact your professor about how best to handle it.
My prior emails listed resources for information and health care. If you did not receive them, let me know and I will resend. They are also posted in the Student Association room. I am asking Mr. Fraley to post them on the Resources page of the website. I would like to add the Johns Hopkins info site, which is very good: coronavirus.jhu.edu. Other general sources on the virus and public health concerns are: cdc.gov andmass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
What is a state of emergency? The state of emergency declared by MA Gov. Baker on Tuesday is to give the governor more flexibility in responding to the spread of the virus. Its immediate effects are to discourage travel of state employees to conferences and large meetings and particularly to discourage international travel by state employees. It also gives him the authority to cancel large events, stockpile supplies needed to fight the virus, requisition buildings to house people if needed, provide for assessment and treatment of people whatever the nature of their health insurance, and take other actions in the interest of public health. The governor has not asked that everyone stay home. The risk of catching the virus is still considered low. Please note that while the number of confirmed cases in MA has risen, most are a direct result of the Biogen meeting held one week ago in Boston (70 out of 92). Though the risk is low, I reiterate that it is important to practice good hygiene practices.
This is a constantly changing situation. Please know that I in conjunction with other administrators and staff are reviewing the situation several times a day. We are working with up to date information and doing our best to inform and protect our community.