March 13, 2020: Statement from Interim President Shahrabi: Coronavirus updates
The coronavirus is causing concern among students, faculty, and staff. The administration, have been closely monitoring the situation, and we will continue to provide important updates, education, and guidance.
Thankfully, no members of the campus community are currently suspected of contracting the virus. The risk of infection on campus remains low. As we discussed since the outbreak began in China, RIT administration and staff have collaborated with the RITK to establish proper protocols and preventive measures.
Please be advised that the College is canceling or postponing all external and our own internal large events with anticipated attendance of 25 or more people through March 27, 2020. This will allow us to focus our cleaning and preventive measures on mission critical functions.
We are working diligently to ensure our processes adhere to the best practices advised by Kosovo health authorities and prepare for an array of possible challenges. These include delivery of courses using various electronic platform, contingencies for canteen, students housing, and daily operations of the institute.
Faculty members and our staff have made remarkably significant strides in preparing to offer their courses online. I sincerely appreciate the remarkable effort to prepare for the possibility that face-to-face instruction is no longer possible for the next few weeks. We realize that some students may have limited internet connection or a computer needed to continue their required work. We will keep the computer lab on campus open for students lacking the required technology. Campus operation remain as normal and all services are available for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff should fulfill their normal responsibilities. The College will make every effort to work with faculty and students to address their technology needs in order students to fulfill their academic requirement.
As it has always been, the safety and health of RITK community remains our highest priority. We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In response to the coronavirus, we have taken additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous. Our facility staff are working diligently to sanitize all spaces on campus including wiping down surfaces and continuing to deploy hand sanitizers. Multiple hand sanitizers has been install throughout the academic building. We continue to prioritize public spaces and are meeting or exceeding recommended procedures.
Residential students are urged to vacate the dorm during the upcoming break and the week of March 22, 2020. Upon leaving, please be sure to take medicines, computers, books and key personal possessions with you. Should the virus affect the campus, your access to the dorm will be limited, and we want you to have everything you need to succeed in courses. This will also allow for maintaining an aggressive cleaning/disinfecting the academic facility, canteen, and dormitory.
We will work on action plan for the students studying in Finland and US if they have chosen to return home and will complete their program through distance learning.
All international trips and study abroad are postponed or canceled for the Spring 2020 semester. Students Government has canceled spring break trip to Prague. All Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to avoid any unnecessary international travel during the upcoming weeks. We will review all plans for travel within Kosovo and abroad.
Practice proactive hygiene and make the following habits part of your daily routine:
· 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 soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain at least 2m distance if possible.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
We know the rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused heightened concern. Please know that the health and safety of our campus community is our top priority, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves. I am asking for the help of every member of the campus community to see RITK through this difficult challenging time. Words alone are not sufficient to express my gratitude for the work that our faculty and staff, and management team are doing to prepare for the challenge that may be ahead of us.