Office of the Chief Executive Officer
Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
October 19, 2020
 
Dear Faculty and Staff:

It's a great day to be at Housatonic! For the second week in a row, I am pleased to report that there are no new reported cases of COVID-19 infection or exposure on campus. Those who were impacted by earlier reports of exposure have completed their quarantine and are returning to their normal schedules. 

In the past few weeks, the nation has seen a significant (+52,774) rise in positive cases, which is concerning. Please know that we are keeping a very close eye on the trends in our state, particularly in Bridgeport and the surrounding region. While there are 802 new cases (total 62,830) across the state, Bridgeport reports 136 positive cases (about 7 per 100,000). 

As the weather begins to get colder, we must also be vigilant against other airborne ailments like the flu and the common cold. Along with the current CDC and State of Connecticut safety guidelines, I encourage all who are able to consult with a medical professional as you consider getting a flu shot. Along with CT Department of Public Health influenza prevention resources, the Bridgeport Department of Public Health offers information, resources and even flu shots for adults who do not have insurance. 

If you develop symptoms, please refrain from coming to campus and check-in with your doctor on whether testing is recommended. For those without primary care, there are multiple testing sites across the state, and many of them are free. 

Going forward, all employees and students who are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms must produce a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. For employees, negative test results must be submitted to Marlene Cordero at MCordero@Commnet.edu.  

Students returning to campus after illness must submit their negative test results to the Dean of Student Affairs, Kim McGinnis at KMcGinnis@Housatonic.edu. This new rule does not apply to those who have tested COVID-19 positive and who have been quarantined and cleared by their doctors. 

We also request that employees who are working remotely, and who become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, please report-in as well. This allows the college to better collaborate with the DPH for contact tracing. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 FAQs. 
  
Please be assured that we are keeping in touch with the Department of Public Health for the latest information on how to best keep everyone safe, and we will continue to share updates each week.   

I would also like to remind everyone that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available through Human Resources. Solutions EAP provides free, short-term, and confidential counseling for employees and their families. The Employee Assistance Program can be reached at 1-800-526-3485 or at www.solutions-eap.com.

Visit the college COVID-19 page for CDC and CSCU guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions and our Phase 3 return to campus guidelines. The confidential self-reporting form is also on our website if you have been exposed to COVID-19.  

As we continue forward, please address any questions or concerns to the HCC COVID Coordinator, Associate Dean of Campus Operations, Mario Pierce
at MPierce@Housatonic.edu or (203) 332-5015.  

Thank you and stay well.

Dwayne Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer