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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Student Notices

Supporting Students Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak
06/04/2020

The following communiqué was issued by the Office of Student Services.

The staff of the Office of Student Services (OSS) wishes to assure all students that we will continue to support your health, safety and wellbeing during this time of major change.

First, we want to acknowledge that these are challenging and uncertain times and that each day, new and varied information is provided which then engenders additional questions. However, with purposeful planning and behaviour we can each do what is necessary to get us through these disconcerting times. Please be assured that any guidelines or suggestions are made with your health and welfare at the forefront.

Remember that we are under a 24 hour curfew instituted by the Government of Barbados which has been extended to May 3, 2020 and you are mandated to conform to the guidelines as outlined at https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/emergency-management-covid-19-curfew-no-2-directive-2020/

Take note of the exceptions where you may go during the curfew.
In light of the current circumstances, here is some important information for you about keeping yourself informed, general hygiene, sharing communal spaces and managing yourself effectively:
  1. Managing Information
AVOID FAKE NEWS! FACTS ARE OUR DEFENCE
  • Follow the guidelines issued by the Government of Barbados https://www.gov.bb/General/coronavirus
  • Read the advisories and updates provided by the University of The West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Visit the campus Covid-19 website at https://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/covid19/home.aspx
  • Be informed by ensuring that you obtain information using other credible and reliable sources e.g. World Health Organisation (WHO), Pan American Health
  • Organisation (PAHO), United States Centres for Disease and Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  1. Good Hygiene – On Halls of Residence and Other Public Places
To reduce or prevent the spread of germs generally but especially regarding respiratory illnesses like SARS-COV2/COVID-19
  • Do cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing
  • If you must cough or sneeze and you do not have tissue available, sneeze or cough into your elbow
  • Discard used tissue immediately into the refuse bin
  • Immediately or as soon as you can discard used tissue in the refuse bins
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not use handkerchiefs or towels to blow your nose or sneeze or cough into
  • If there is no soap or water available at the time, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content between 60% and 70%. Concentrations above this or below this are not as effective
  • Do not share towels, lipstick/lip balm or other personal items which may be contaminated with respiratory germs
  • Do not share food, beverage and beverage containers or utensils with others
  • Wash your hands after touching soiled items or anyone who is sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose
  • Wash your hands before eating, touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Reduce or eliminate use of a communal space if you have a cough and fever
  • If you have to seek medical attention because you have a fever and dry cough, contact your medical provider first before going to the clinic/office. The Student Health Clinic remains open but with reduced hours.
  1. Keeping Your Surroundings Clean
  • Keep shared spaces e.g. kitchens, bathrooms including toilets, sinks clean and sanitized – do not depend solely on housekeeping staff to clean. Each person has a responsibility to himself/herself and others to clean up after use
  • Use clean tissue to hold door knobs or door handles, handrails or other frequently used fomites (surfaces or things that are used and that bacteria/viruses can stay on)
  1. Social Distancing
  • Physical (Social) distancing is a way of keeping people from interacting closely or frequently enough so as to reduce the spread of an infectious disease. Educational institutions, religious services and other gathering places including movie theatres, sports and entertainment events are curtailed in order to ensure social distancing.
  • It is important to note that the curtailment of these events including the Curfew is done in an effort to reduce the risk or spreading disease or stopping the spread of an infectious illness.
  1. Typical Responses During Difficult Situations

During outbreaks of infectious or contagious diseases and disasters everyone experiences some degree of anxiety, worry or fear. These concerns may be related to:
  • Concerns or fears about your own health or the health status of family and friends; the health condition of people whom you may have interacted with and exposed to the illness
  • Resentment from family and friends if they need to be quarantined as a result of coming into contact with you
  • The reality of having to monitor yourself or be monitored by others for signs and symptoms of disease
  • Insurance coverage for time off from work/school and the potential economic impact
  • Challenges of obtaining necessities such as groceries, personal care items and paying bills
  • Uncertainty or frustration about the duration of current circumstances, quarantine or isolation
  • Loneliness because of feeling disconnected from others and loved ones
  • Connectedness may be problematic due to the increased demand on telecommunications and online platforms
  • Anger if you think your exposure is a result of others’ negligence
  • Symptoms of depression e.g. loss of appetite, feelings of hopelessness, sadness

Taking Care Yourself Mentally and Physically During Uncertain Times
REMEMBER:
  • Be properly informed
  • Be prepared
  • Be calm
  • Keep informed through reliable and accurate sources – Government sources, WHO, PAHO
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Stay connected with others whenever you can – family, friends – use the telephone, text, email, Skype, WhatsApp to alleviate the feeling of disconnectedness and loneliness
  • Practice physical (social) distancing which means maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between you and others especially when you have to go out
  • Use practical ways to relax and cope – deep breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, exercising, reading light literature, dancing, listening to music
  • Talk about your feelings with family and friends to help manage worry and fears and frustration
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking to reduce feelings of sadness and depression. Difficult circumstances will not last
  • Reach out to Counselling Services via email to discuss your concerns
  • Call the Ministry of Health and Wellness Hotline at 536-4500 if you have concerns about your health
  • WHO has a webpage which provides a large number of practical steps that you can take to manage your mental health: www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_8
Thank you and remember that All of our support services remain available to you.  Visit our website to book an appointment at www.cavehill.uwi.edu/studentservices

Take care of yourself and in so doing take care of others

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