Soka University of America Coronavirus Update and Precautions

March 12, 2020
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Inverted world map on the floor of Founders Hall atrium

The County of Orange, where Soka is located, declared a local health emergency on Feb. 26.  No cases have been diagnosed at Soka.

There have been 17 confirmed case of the virus – also known as Covid-19 – in Orange County.  The Orange County Health Care Agency’s web site says that there is now laboratory evidence of community transmission in Orange County, indicating that COVID-19 is likely spreading in the community. OCHCA has a weekly phone conference for all college and university health care providers in the county.  Soka takes part in these phone conferences.  

SUA is aware that special precautions are appropriate at this time, so we have halted our study abroad programs in China, France and Spain.  All individual and group campus tours are cancelled until further notice. Soka Performing Arts Center is postponing all shows through the rest of the season and Soka’s International Festival on May 2, 2020 has been canceled for this year.

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that normal hygiene practices are most effective for disease prevention for coronavirus and influenza:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Cover nose and mouth with elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing, or sharing cups or utensils, with sick people

We urge anyone on campus feeling ill (fever, cough, shortness of breath, other respiratory symptoms) to contact Student Health at 949.480.4143.

If you have recently traveled to areas with active infections either overseas or domestic and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to Student Health, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 

Testing for COVID-19

  • Currently, the OCHCA is only testing those who are hospitalized with respiratory illnesses or those who have severe illnesses and have returned from countries experiencing outbreaks (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran).
  • OCHCA lab now has the ability to test samples and confirm the presence of COVID-19; OCHCA works with health care providers to determine if a sample should be collected for testing.
  • Soka Student Health Center has the ability to gather a sample to be sent for testing. Testing results are available within 24-48 hours by OCHCA.

Soka University of America – COVID-19 Response Plan
   
Health Services, Dining Services, Residential Life

Protocol for Students Who Experience Symptoms

During Health Center Hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm):

  • Student should go to their room, isolate themselves from other students (no guests in room) and call the Health Center (949-480-4143) to discuss symptoms over the phone.
  • Based the phone conversation, the Health Care Provider will determine a course of action. If needed, the Health Care Provider will visit the student at the student’s room.
  • After observing the student’s condition in person, the Health Care Provider will determine if the student should remain in isolation, if the student should be tested for Influenza A or B, or if the Orange County Health Care Agency should be contacted regarding testing for COVID-19.
  • If OCHCA recommends testing for COVID-19, a sample will be collected on site by the Health Care Provider and sent for testing. Results should be returned within 3 days.

After Hours (after 5:00 pm on weekdays or during weekend):

  • The Student should go to their room, isolate themselves from other students (no guests in the room) and call the RA Duty number (949-480-4664 or 949-480-4658) to ask for a Flu Kit. Residential Life staff will deliver the Flu Kit to the student’s roo
  • The Flu Kit contains some over the counter medicine, a water pitcher and cup, a thermometer and directions. Student will read and follow directions inside the Kit:
  • Student will take their temperature by placing the thermometer under their tongue for 1 minute. The thermometer makes a sound when the temperature is confirmed. The student should avoid eating or drinking anything 20 minutes prior to taking their temperature to ensure an accurate reading.
  • Student will send an email to HealthCenter@soka.edu answering the questions in the Kit List and include their recorded temperature.
  • Based on instructions in Kit, the student will isolate until a Health Center provider is able to see them the following business day.
  • Residential Life staff will help coordinate delivery of meals to students while they are isolated.
  • For weekend concerns, students may also call the OCHCA referral line at 1-800-564-8448. If symptoms are severe, students may dial 9-1-1. Emergency Services will determine protocol and respond.

Protocol for Roommates or Suitemates of Students Who Experience Symptoms

A Roommate or Suitemate of a symptomatic student may have already been exposed to the virus. To help minimize the spread, the roommate or suitemate of a symptomatic student should observe the following protocol:

  • If the Roommate or Suitemate does have symptoms, a Health Care Provider will examine and treat them in the same manner as the other symptomatic student. The roommate or suitemate will remain in isolation in their original room.
  • If the Health Provider determines the Roommate or Suitemate is not symptomatic, the Roommate or Suitemate will have the option to move to a different room, but should also isolate until being cleared by a Health Care Provider. Residential Life will coordinate the move to a different room.
     

If a Student Tests Positive for COVID-19

  • Test results will come from the CDC. Health Center staff will notify OCHCA. The CDC and OCHCA will determine next steps for patient treatment and community safety.
  • Health Center, Residential Life, and Dining Services will follow the direction of the CDC and OCHCA.
  • Following CDC/OCHCA directions,  Student Services, Residential life, and Dining Services will collaborate to determine logistics of food delivery and ongoing support for students.

Support for Students in Isolation

  • Health Center staff will notify the Director of Student Services once a symptomatic student has been placed in isolation and will to continue to send daily updates until the student is no longer recommended to remain in isolation.
  • The Director of Student Services will contact the student, collect their cell or room phone number for communication, inquire about dietary restrictions, and make arrangements for meal delivery while the student is isolated.
  • Residential Life staff will receive updates on which rooms contain isolated students, including when isolation is no longer necessary.

Precautions for Support Staff

  • Once a Health Care Provider has recommended a student for isolation, the Director of Student Services will contact the student and collect the student’s primary phone number (cell or room phone) and share the phone number with staff who will be delivering meals.
  • When meals or supplies are delivered, staff will place them outside the student’s door, then call or text the student. Staff will not have direct, physical interaction with the student at the room door in order to maintain social distance.
  • If a student self-isolates after hours and calls the RA on Duty, the RA will contact the Residence Hall Coordinator on duty for delivery of the Flu Kit. The Kit will be delivered by the same method as meals (place outside room door; call/text; avoid direct physical interaction with student)
  • When assessing students in their residence hall room, Health Care Providers will wear appropriate protective gear while in the room with the student.

Other Campus Prevention Measures

RECENT WORKSHOP 

On Friday, March 6, 2020 from noon-1 pm, SUA’s Health Services hosted a presentation in Pauling Hall 216 by Dr. Shannon from South Coast Medical Group in Pauling Hall 216.  Dr. Shannon shared medical information related to Coronavirus, including:

  • Up-to-date information about the virus and how it spreads
  • Best prevention practices, including steps to take if you are traveling during spring break
  • Steps a student should take if they experience symptoms while living on campus

DINING SERVICES

  • Dining Services currently has three hand sanitizing stations (two near entrance doors; one inside the food serving area). A fourth will be added near the register.
  • Bon Appetit is sanitizing after every meal service with a general Virucide, Bactericide, Tuberculocidal and Fungicidal sanitizer on all high touch contact surfaces (table tops, counter tops, and NON-food contact surfaces, which has been recommended by the CDC to assist with any viral contamination. 


STUDY ABROAD: Process for Monitoring Coronavirus and Assuring the Safety of SUA students on Study Abroad

Soka University’s primary consideration is the safety of students in SUA’s study abroad program.  SUA is daily monitoring the situation with our study abroad providers and CDC and WHO update. The World Health Organization has now declared the situation a pandemic. The CDE has elevated its travel warning to Level 3 for over 25 countries in Europe.  For the safety of all our students, SUA has decided to halt study abroad in France and Spain in addition to the previously halted Study abroad programs in China. 

The levels of alert within CDC include:

  • Level 1 - Practice Usual Precautions
  • Level 2 - Practice Enhanced Precautions
  • Level 3 - Avoid Non-Essential travel 

These alerts and updates are available on the CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

If the CDC raises the alert to Level 3, we and any providers who manage our study abroad programs will make arrangements to remove students from the country. 

Soka University is actively discussing contingency plans for removing students from any areas which may have Level 3 alerts with all of our study abroad providers.  These plans include providing continuity in our student’s studies, which may include relocated study in safe sites in the US, and from hybrid or online instruction. SUA will keep parents and the SUA community updated as the situation develops. 
 

SOKA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Soka Performing Arts Center is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving events surrounding the recent outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and considers the health and wellbeing of our patrons, artists and employees with the highest priority. 

 In light of the recent directive from the Governor of the State of California, and the escalating issues related to COVID-19, we will be postponing or cancelling all shows for the rest of the season. This decision was not entered into lightly. The safety of our community and those most vulnerable among us is our main concern.

We want to reassure our patrons that no cases have been reported on the campus of Soka University. The University has taken additional precautions to mitigate risk and exposure on campus. See link for details. https://www.soka.edu/news-events/news/soka-university-america-coronavirus-update-and-precautions

We have modified our refund policy to respond to these current events. All performances cancelled or postponed may be refunded or the ticket returned for credit to your account on a future performance, at the purchase price. Please call the Box Office at 949-480-4278 or email tickets@soka.edu.

Thank you all for your understanding of our efforts to keep everyone safe at this time. Stay well, and we look forward to a wonderful season in 20-21.

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