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College comments on Coronavirus

The following was sent as an email from Dr. John Smetanka, vice president of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, to the SVC community on March 6. The content also appears on the college’s website.

To the Saint Vincent College Community:

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues, we want to keep the members of our campus informed about the ongoing monitoring of the situation and the proactive steps the College is taking to guard against and prepare for any potential outbreaks.

First and foremost, at present, there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus or near Latrobe. The health and safety of the entire Saint Vincent community is of the utmost importance, so we are asking that each member of our campus does their own part in preventing the spread of all communicable diseases.

The College continues to closely monitor the growing outbreak of COVID-19, with a group of administrators regularly communicating to discuss protocols and recommendations, based on the information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the local and state health departments. Additionally, we will maintain strict adherence to any advisories relating to travel or preventive measures from the CDC, the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization and others. As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will pass along updates as they relate to the health and safety of our campus community.


We are asking all members of our campus community to follow the guidelines for prevention, as recommended by the CDC.

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer.

Medical experts continue to emphasize that handwashing, maintaining proper hygiene, avoiding close contact with people who may be sick and avoiding touching your face are the best ways to prevent COVID-19.

Adherence to these guidelines will also aid in preventing the spread of other communicable diseases, which can be easily transmitted on a college campus and in shared living/working spaces. Furthermore, we ask that all members of campus maintain cleanliness in all residence hall rooms and offices, including regularly disinfecting surfaces and frequently touched areas.

Symptoms of COVID-19

- Fever

- Cough

- Shortness of breath

Returning To Campus

If you begin experiencing symptoms related to the flu or respiratory issues and have recently traveled to a region with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a person who may have COVID-19, please take the following steps:

- Do not come to campus.

- Contact your doctor or a medical professional.

- Advise your department chair or work supervisor of your situation.

If upon your return to campus, you begin experiencing these symptoms, please report this to the Wellness Center, your Prefect or Residence Hall director and your professors via email/phone. Do not go in-person to report these symptoms.

- If these symptoms are present, it is important that you self-isolate immediately and do not interact with others.

- Students who are experiencing these symptoms, or symptoms of another illness, will not be penalized for class absences.


Moving forward, all college-related or business travel, including trips with students, must be approved by your Vice President/President’s Cabinet Member. Travel for athletic competition will continue as planned, but the College will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and make any adjustments, as necessary.

In regard to personal travel, we recommend that all members of the SVC community:

- Avoid travel to any regions with large or growing outbreaks of COVID-19, as outlined by the CDC and the U.S. Department of State.

- If travel to a region with a large or growing outbreak is absolutely necessary, alert John Smetanka (, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, of your intentions.

- If you have recently traveled to a region experiencing a large or growing outbreak, please alert John Smetanka (

Campus and Residence Halls

Our Facilities Management Office continues to work diligently to disinfect high traffic areas and surfaces, including residence halls, restrooms, door handles, dining facilities and other common/shared spaces. Additional hand sanitizer locations will also be available throughout campus.

Food Service/Dining

On-campus dining services will continue as normal, but with enhanced precautions, particularly with frequent replacement of shared utensils in self-service areas.

Questions and Concerns

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, or the spread of any other illnesses on campus, please contact John Smetanka (, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, or the Office of Student Affairs (

As a reminder, the campus Wellness Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and can be reached by calling 724-805-2115. During non-business hours, students with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact residence life staff or campus ministers.

The situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, with new information and updates being shared multiple times per day. It is important that we are all mindful of misinformation and how quickly rumors may spread. We encourage all members of campus to refrain from engaging in the sharing of misinformation and to look to resources provided by the CDC, the WHO, the Department of State, local and state health departments and the College for updated and accurate information.

Thank you for your cooperation as we work to keep our campus community safe and healthy. This information, as well as any updates, can also be found at


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