I have watched with pride as our community has rallied together in support of each other and the cause of protecting our citizens while continuing to provide a quality education to our students. As a university president, I am particularly concerned that our country’s young people understand the seriousness of COVID-19. That message has hit home.
Two Shippensburg University students who traveled to Europe during spring break returned to the U.S., and upon being stopped at the airport, tested positive for COVID-19 and were hospitalized. They remain out of state in quarantine under medical supervision. I am glad to report they are in good spirits, and we wish them well as they recover.
The students were last on campus on March 3 and March 4. They contracted the virus during their travels. They have not returned to Pennsylvania and did not put our community at risk for exposure, but their situation reminds us how important it is for everyone to abide by social distancing and community spread mitigation practices. It is vital for your health and the health of our country.
Ensuring the anonymity of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 is paramount. If you are aware of their identities, please respect their privacy so they can focus completely on their health.
To date, the university is unaware of any other members of the SU community who have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. In the future, new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our university community will be posted on our COVID-19 website.
Shippensburg University is committed to protecting our community and the communities beyond our campus. If you have been identified as someone who has been in contact with, or in close proximity to, any individual who has tested positive for the virus, please follow the guidance of public health officials. Any university employee or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may notify the university with complete confidentiality by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 717-477-1161.
I am grateful to each of you, and want you to know that I understand how unsettling this situation is and the ramifications of the necessary decisions being made across the country. I want to reiterate the seriousness of the pandemic, and the important role that young people play in the mitigation of its spread. These are challenging times. We will get through them by working together to ensure the academic success of our students as well as the health and safety of our community and the country.
I hope you will follow the guidance of our public health leaders to stay calm, stay well, and stay home.
Laurie A. Carter