NSU places safety as top priority in preparing for coronavirus

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio released the following information regarding NSU’s preparation for the coronavirus.  Although there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 on Northwestern’s campuses, the university is enacting policies and procedures to enhance the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff and the campus communities.


Beginning immediately, university sponsored or funded non-essential domestic travel is being suspended.  Vice-presidents must approve exceptions in their respective areas.  Approval will be based on the importance of proposed travel to the university’s mission.  All student, faculty and staff international travel has already been suspended.  These actions conform with national and worldwide social distancing efforts to help control the spread of coronavirus.


In addition, plans for all large gatherings sponsored or hosted by the university for the remainder of the semester will be reviewed.  It is possible that some events will be canceled or postponed as a safeguard for the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff and visitors.


Plans are for university campuses to remain open, for the majority of students to attend in-person classes and for residential students to remain on campuses.  Because of a reported case of coronavirus in Caddo Parish, it is anticipated that there will be an exception for nursing students in clinical classes.  As a precaution, those students could be removed from hospital settings and participate in online virtual instruction and other alternative learning programs.


All spring sports competition by teams in the Southland Conference, which includes Northwestern, will be canceled through March 30.  Additional information on the possible scheduling of athletic events on future dates will be provided as it becomes available.


If COVID-19 spreads to NSU campuses and communities, the university is prepared to provide continuity of learning to students by transitioning from in-person classes to remote and online instruction and other options.  Plans are also being formulated to provide essential security, dining services, counseling, health services, library access and other assistance and support for students who are not able to leave the campus for various reasons.


Student, faculty and staff safety and welfare is the university’s highest priority.  As Northwestern strives to maintain face-to-face classes, residential services and other conventional programming, we also continue to expand custodial services in classrooms, residential and dining facilities and other campus buildings and sites.


There are also plans to enter into a contract soon with a company that specializes in cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing large buildings and facilities to thoroughly clean and sterilize all campus facilities.


Constituents can continue to monitor information and news releases on the university’s website (https://www.nsula.edu/covid-19/) and follow recommendations of state, national and international health organizations to clean ands thoroughly and often, stay at home if ill, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, maintain social distancing when possible, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and seek medical care if for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.


Students at NSU and across the nation who are approaching spring break are being encouraged to avoid travel to areas that have been identified as having a high risk for coronavirus.  Individuals are urged to take every precaution if planning to travel during the upcoming spring break.


NSU will continue to update the community on this rapidly evolving situation.  Formore information, contact Director of Health Services Carla Walker at (318) 357-6377, walkerc@nsula.edu  or Environmental Health and Safety Officer Julie Powell at (318) 357-4667, obannonj@nsula.edu with questions or concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.