A message from CEO, William T. Brown, Ph.D.

Friday, November 20, 2020
 
Fellow Educators, 

There were six confirmed reports of college community members testing positive for COVID-19 since my last communication to the college community.  We continue to work with the New Haven Health Department and other local health departments to notify anyone who may have been exposed and to inform them that they need to quarantine for the required 14 days. 
 
As the incidence and positivity rate in Connecticut and around the country continue to climb, it is up to all of us to help mitigate the spread of the virus.  With Thanksgiving less a week away, I am sharing the following guidance from the Department of Public Health specifically for college students.  
  • Travel is discouraged and it is strongly recommended that we find creative ways to share the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and loved ones, including virtual dinners and small outdoor gatherings.
     
  • It is important that members of the college community not attend large social gatherings or reunions, which will pose a high risk for spreading COVID-19.
     
  • If you do travel, check travel restrictions for your destination before you go.  
  • Get your flu shot before you travel and monitor your health for any COVID-related symptoms.
     
  • Students who have family members at high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection (over age 60 or with chronic medical conditions) should consider completing a quarantine somewhere other than with those high-risk family members.
     
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not a member of your household (this includes family members who do not live with you and who you may be visiting).
     
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.  If you are infected with COVID-19, have symptoms, or are within a mandatory quarantine period due to close contact with a known case, you should avoid public transportation.
     
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
     
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
     
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Refer to CDC's Thanksgiving holiday preparation guidance for more information.

As a point of information, the state's Data Tracker site offers updated information on the average daily rate of COVID-19 cases among persons living in community settings per 100,000 population by town.  This week the CDC also updated the effectiveness of mask-wearing as a preventative measure as long as it covers both the nose and the mouth. 

The state is also recommending that all students get tested. Testing locations can be located on the state's website at  https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Priority-Population. This site also offers information on cost-free testing by town. 
 
The  COVID Alert CT app is now active. I encourage all members of the college community to make use of this helpful tool, which will alert you if you are at risk of exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus.  
  
If the current state of affairs is causing some anxiety, please know that there are support resources available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides free, short-term, and confidential counseling for employees and their families.  Call 800-526-3485 for more information. 

I would like to remind everyone to visit the GCC  COVID-19 page for CDC and CSCU guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions. Please address any questions or concerns to the HCC COVID Coordinator, Dean Jill McDowell at JMcDowell@GatewayCT.edu.  
 
Thank you for your continued diligence in following safety protocols.  Taking these steps will not only help keep you safe but can help avoid spreading the virus to your loved ones. There will be no campus safety update scheduled for next week, but we will continue these communications after the Thanksgiving recess. 
Be well. 
 
William 'Terry' Brown, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer