Southwest takes precautions as Coronavirus concerns escalate

March 2, 2020

In December 2019, Chinese health authorities identified an outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, Coronavirus which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. Investigations are ongoing. To learn more, visit the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 webpage for the most up to date information at

There are no confirmed cases in Tennessee. However, Southwest Tennessee Community College is taking every precaution to provide a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The College has a comprehensive Pandemic Preparedness Plan available for your review online (see page 12). Although a pandemic has NOT been declared, Southwest is elevating its current infection control measures in Custodial Services and Cafeteria Services.

Custodial Services is cleaning and disinfecting touchable surfaces per usual protocol, but also will undergo refresher training on proper use and application of cleaning products and follow recommended CDC guidelines to combat the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the college in the coming weeks to further reduce the likelihood of the spread of infectious disease.

Cafeteria Services currently follows strict guidelines for sanitation as mandated by the Health Department. Cafeteria staff also will follow recommendations published by The National Restaurant Association to protect customers and employees from infection. Extra tissues and napkins will be provided to use for coughs or sneezes, along with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

In addition, Associate Professor Dr. Ziba Hooshdarah, a member of the Nursing faculty, will provide key information about the COVID-19 and how to avoid infection during a seminar at the Macon Cove Campus after spring break. The presentation will be recorded and placed online for on-demand viewing via the College’s website following her presentation. Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, Dr. Hooshdarah suggests these tips to avoid contracting and spreading the infection.

Centers for Disease Control recommends the following tips to avoid contracting and spreading infections:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

To stay up-to-do-date on the Coronavirus outbreak, please refer to the following resources:

Department supervisors also may print out this Coronavirus poster from the CDC to post in employee common areas. You can also print out the Spanish version.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the College’s response or other policies, please contact your immediate supervisor or Associate Vice President for Human Resources Greg Eller at

Stay tuned to Scoop, the college’s website, email and campus digital monitors and signage for updates regarding Southwest policies and procedures and Coronavirus response strategies and activities.

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