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23 Mar

  • By Shobhan Giterson
  • In News
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TO: All USM Faculty, Staff and Students
DATE: March 13, 2020
TIME: 6.30PM
USM Management and Board continue to monitor the local and international situation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Sint Maarten there are no known cases of Coronavirus. In Saint-Martin, there were two reported cases, whereby the individuals were successfully placed in isolation. Nevertheless, it is important that all island residents and institutions remain vigilant, keep aware of the most recent information disseminated by university and governmental officials, continue to practice good hygiene and take the necessary measures if any symptoms occur by contacting your health care provider and avoiding physical contact with others. USM is reviewing its cleaning and maintenance procedures, and will take all reasonable care to ensure a continued safe and sanitary work environment. Staff and Instructors have been provided with a general overview of precautions to be taken in an email sent on March 6th under the subject heading “COVID-19: inform and protect yourself”.
All staff and students who are sick or have symptoms are to remain at home and inform their instructors and/or division heads via email.
Due to limited human resources, USM Management has postponed its monthly SDG seminars and all other USM public activities until further notice.
USM Management and Division Heads are currently working on a strategy to carry out academic programming online if needed. As soon as a system is agreed upon and ready for implementation, all faculty and students will be informed via email. Until then, classes will be held as scheduled.
Please take note that Dean of Academics, Dr. Rolinda Carter has activated the USM Management Notices chat list on WhatsApp. The purpose of said chat list is to inform all faculty and staff of emergencies and/or important notices as it relates to USM operations and academic programming. Members of the chat list will not be able to respond or send messages. If any questions arise with regards to Management Notices, please contact any member of the Management Team (President, Dean of Academics, Manager of Finance and Operations).
Students are encouraged to follow USM updates sent via email, Facebook and other social media.

Please find below a list of useful, informative and official websites with regards to the COVID-19 Pandemic and recommendations regarding preventive measures.

Latest travel restrictions for Sint Maarten:
Official Government Notices
As per information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) Source: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus: Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Source: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. COVID-19 is still affecting mostly people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following: Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick. Practice respiratory hygiene. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading  Follow the guidance outlined above.  Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.  If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Stay informed and follow advice given by the Government of Sint Maarten via SXMGOV Radio 107.9FM, www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus & www.facebook.com/sxmgov. Please also visit the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/) and Centre for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/) for continuous updates.

All please be vigilant and take the necessary precautions at this time.

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