HOLLAND, Mich — A student at Hope College is being monitored for COVID-19, according to the college. The student has not been diagnosed.
The school sent a message to students, staff and the community about the situation, stating the student contacted the Health Center and reported minimal flu-like symptoms with possible off-campus exposure to COVID-19.
As a precautionary measure, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health ordered testing for the student and recommended the student be isolated.
The student has not been diagnosed with the coronavirus, but is being monitored out of an abundance of caution, according to Hope’s message.
The college said it was working closely with Dr. Paul Heidel, medical director of Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Dr. Heidel did not recommend any additional action from the campus community.
“Classes are in session,” said Hope President Matthew Scogin in a video posted to the college’s website. “That means our offices are open, and it’s business as usual at Hope College.
Contingency planning due to COVID-19 started several days ago, a spokesperson for Hope said in a statement:
“The college has begun preparing for different scenarios, including situations that would require remote delivery of courses,” the spokesperson said. “Hope is doing everything it can to help faculty and staff get ready for that possibility, understanding that campus-wide preparedness is our primary goal.”
Faculty are participating in peer-led workshops and training sessions this week to broaden remote course delivery skills, the statement said.
“This is a time of extraordinary of collaboration and cooperation on campus, driven by a shared commitment to getting our students to the finish line of spring semester,” the spokesperson said.
Several students said professors have begun talking in class about the possibility of finishing courses online.
“My professor was getting us prepared for if after spring break we don’t end up coming back,” Freshman Emma Post said. “I love Hope and Hope’s campus. It would definitely be sad, but obviously understandable because you want to keep everyone safe.”
There are currently seven Ottawa County residents with pending COVID-19 tests, including the Hope student, and 0 confirmed cases, said Kristina Weighmink, public information officer for the Department of Public Health.
“We’re continuing to encourage community members to keep practicing good prevention measures as you would with any respiratory illness,” Weighmink said. “We will continue to work with healthcare providers and our community to take the necessary steps on helping to minimize the impact on our community.”
Hope officials recommend that students and employees stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
You can view Michigan data for COVID-19 testing at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.
Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak
What is a coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the CDC, patients diagnosed with this coronavirus experience a mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Patents with severe complications from the virus often develop pneumonia in both lungs.
How do I protect myself and others?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 or medication to directly treat COVID-19. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. The CDC recommends maintaining personal preventative actions such as:
– Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
– Not touching your eyes, mouth or nose, especially with unwashed hands
– Washing your hands often with soap and warm water for last least 20 seconds
– Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched
– Stay home if you are sick
– Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
There also is no need for members of the general public to wear surgical masks to guard against coronavirus. Individuals should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
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