What is the COVID-19 situation in the United States of America?
The USA has a very developed health system, and the US government has been very proactive in responding to the growing coronavirus pandemic. As a result, they have put in place quite strict guidelines for group meetings. The US government continues to respond to developments with even greater availability of testing, tighter travel bans, stronger messaging around hygiene and social distancing, enforcement of self-isolation and quarantines, and heavily limiting non-essential gatherings indoors and outdoors. At this point, for a number of very sound reasons, the state government has temporarily closed schools, universities or other educational institutions until April 10th. See https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-schools and https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/03/governor-ducey-superintendent-hoffman-announce-two-week-extension-school
What is Hillsong College doing?
The College continues to monitor the situation closely. The College’s Executive Team is meeting daily to keep abreast of developments and make appropriate decisions to safeguard the health of our student community and contribute to slowing the spread of the virus whilst continuing to deliver a high-quality training experience. We are also taking active steps to support the wellbeing of our student body – spiritually, emotionally, socially and practically - in these unprecedented and challenging times.
In particular, and in response to the government’s advice, the College is making adjustments to its training delivery so that classes can still run on-campus when given approval by the Governor of AZ, exercising high standards of hygiene and social distancing, whilst also providing “virtual classroom” options for students who are unwell, concerned about their health or for other reasons unable to attend classes on campus.
Should students return home?
Whilst this is a decision for students and their families to make carefully, we feel the following things should be kept in consideration:The rate of infection and death from the coronavirus in Phoenix is amongst the lowest in the world. See Current StatusThe United States and Arizona’s response to the coronavirus is amongst the most proactive in the world. See US Government Response and AZ Government ResponseThe single greatest source of infections into the US are arrivals from overseas. As a result, the government has enforced compulsory 14-day self-isolation for all international arrivals. See Travel Restrictions
How will students and their families know what is happening?
College will primarily and officially communicate to students via emails to their official student email. We will also send text messages and upload details to the College Portal and Website. Please rely on these official forms of communication. Additionally, we urge students and their families to become familiar with the US government’s regular health updates.
In these unprecedented circumstances the worst thing that can happen is for unreliable information sources and the rumour mill to distort communications between the College and our students. If students have any questions, please contact your core tutorial leader or campus principal. Parents and families should feel free to ring +1 480 464 3922 or email email@example.com
What is College doing to provide a safe campus for students?
College is following the safety guidelines issued by the CDC. This includes communicating hand washing and social distancing advice, providing hand sanitization stations around campus, regularly cleaning and disinfecting student and classroom spaces and changing classroom set-up to create necessary social distancing.
What should students do to stay healthy?
In line with the US Government health advice you should do the following:Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw soiled tissues in the trash can and clean your hands with soap and water or sanitiser. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your sneeze or cough into your elbow.Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces each day.Stay home if you are sick and don’t expose others. If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, do not go outside your property or home, do not go to work, school or shops unless it is essential.Practise social distancing – minimise physical contact, keep safe distances from others
Should students come to College?
After March 29th, yes – but in groups of less than 10 and being approved by a College staff personnel. Please do not come on campus if you feel unwell, especially if you have flu-like symptoms – i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath and a sore throat.
Having said that, College is not going to be unreasonable about its attendance policy during these times.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
You should do the following:Familiarise yourself with the Coronavirus symptoms – fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath - Seek medical attention and follow their advice.If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.Contact your core-tutorial leader so we can continue to care for you.
Should I withdraw?
College is looking at a range of responses to the situation, including delivering our courses online. We are committed to continuing to deliver our course even if, in the worst-case scenario, we can’t run face-to-face classes. Therefore, we encourage students not to withdraw, even if they are required to self-isolate or decide to return/stay home.
What about my College accommodation?
You and your housemates should rigorously follow the standard hygiene advice (see above). In shared bedrooms you should do what you can to sleep as far from each other as possible. If one of your housemates feels unwell urge them to follow the steps outlined above.
If students are concerned regarding their accommodation or rental payments, they should get in contact with our Accommodation Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).