College closes Allied Health building until March 18

By Daphne J. Thomas
March 9, 2020

Sunday, March 8, the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Shelby County. The next day, two Southwest Radiologic Technology students were notified they were exposed to the patient during their clinical rotations at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. SCHD instructed the students to not return to their clinical rotations and classes until March 18, two weeks after their exposure to the patient.

However, the two students attended classes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week in the Allied Health Building on the Union Avenue Campus prior to the exposure notification. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the College instructed radiologic technology students in both of the exposed students’ cohorts via a virtual meeting this evening to not return to classes until March 18. While the risk of their exposure to the virus is low, the College’s Custodial Services Department will take this opportunity to perform a deep cleaning of the Allied Health Building, paying particular attention to the radiologic technology classrooms, laboratories and equipment. This deep cleaning will comply with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rad Tech students attended a virtual meeting Monday night where Tracy Freeman-Jones instructed them to self-quarantine and informed them that their spring break would be extended to March 18.  “While you are enjoying an extended spring break, please continue to practice good handwashing hygiene and also monitor your health to determine if you are having any flu-like symptoms,” Freeman-Jones said. “If you experience symptoms, seek medical attention; otherwise, self-quarantine by limiting your contact with others by practicing strict social distancing, keeping yourself at six feet away from other people.”

Only classes held in the Allied Health Building are canceled and will resume March 18. All other Southwest students are to return to classes following spring break March 16 as previously scheduled.

Allied Health faculty are asked to reach out to students Allied Heath students during the two-day closure.  “They should provide lecture notes and worksheets and any other instructional materials by means of PAWS, the College’s online learning management system,” Dean of Allied Health and Natural Sciences Evan McHugh said.

The coronavirus situation is fluid. Therefore, Southwest officials are meeting throughout the day to follow developments and to coordinate the response according to the College’s Emergency Response Plan, which includes a Pandemic Preparedness Plan. Please stay tuned to email and this website to stay up-to-date on the response and to receive any important messages in a timely manner.

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