April 2, 2020
Austin Seminary continues to follow all local and state guidelines with regard to the State of Texas's Stay Home order through April 30. Classes will continue to be taught remotely for the remainder of the semester. Non-essential employees will work from home.
Vice President of Finance & Administration
Prior updates from Austin Seminary
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Social Distancing
- Worship Guidelines
- Quarantine and Isolation
- What's the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?
- Has anyone on the campus been exposed to the coronavirus?
- What precautions are the Seminary taking to prevent the spread of viruses?
- How is the Seminary preparing for a potential outbreak?
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- What should I do if I have been exposed to the virus?
- What should I do if I feel sick?
- What if I must be isolated or quarantined?
According to the Centers for Disease Control
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Yes. We have distributed sanitizing wipes in every classroom and meeting room on campus. In addition, the custodial staff has been instructed to sanitize daily all “high-touch” surfaces, such as door knobs, handles, and more. We installed a hands-free sanitizer in the Vikery Atrium. Staff and Faculty have access to disinfecting wipes for their offices. Additional trash cans have been placed outside public restrooms for paper towel disposal.
Food Service - we are working with Southern Food Service to implement changes in our food service as well as preparing for further measures if needed. In addition to all the changes the staff are doing in the kitchen and Stotts, guests are no longer allowed to use personal cups/mugs, and no refills of drinks will be allowed. Additional changes may be forthcoming.
The Seminary’s cabinet regularly convenes to prepare for anything that might threaten the well-being of our community. The Seminary is developing a plan to address any potential impact on our campus, offering alternative options that will ensure the continuity of classes and worship in the event of a local or regional outbreak.
According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Students, faculty, and staff who experience symptoms similar to COVID-19 must self-isolate, stay home, and self-monitor. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home and seek medical advice. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if your healthcare provider believes you have COVID-19, contact Heather Zdancewicz as soon as possible.
We are preparing contingency plans to identify isolation / quarantine stations if needed.
According to the CDC, you should:
- Seek medical care.
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from people and animals in your home.
- Wear a face mask.
- Not travel while sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Clean your hands often.
- Clean all “high-touch” areas every day.
- Monitor symptoms.
- Consult with healthcare providers and state and local health departments before discontinuing home isolation.
Please read this resource for more detail on each bullet above.
Students: The health and well-being of our community is of utmost importance and we rely upon each other to prevent the spread of this virus. There will not be punitive consequences for missing classes because of illness.
Staff: It is always recommended that sick staff take time-off to care for themselves, or family members who require care during an illness. Paid sick leave is available in the event of an illness or required medical attention of the employee or employee’s immediate family member (spouse, child(ren), parent(s) or parent(s) in-law). Remember that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available if you are feeling anxious about anything. EAP is available to all employees, whether you have the Seminary’s insurance or not. The number for EAP is 1-866-640-2772. For medical advice, you should continue to consult with your personal physician.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid shaking hands; use a verbal greeting instead.
- Avoid high-touch areas. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- 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 face mask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask 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.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to say the Lord's Prayer slowly or the Apostles' Creed quickly), 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.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Many places of work and worship are implementing a policy of "social distancing." According to the CDC, social distancing means remaining out of crowded public places where close contact with others may occur, such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums; avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, ride share); and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others.
The worship committee announced modified worship practices as appropriate that include:
- Avoid physical contact during the passing of the peace.
- Celebrants only will touch the bread.
- Intinction, if desired, should not include touching the cup or the wine/juice inside.
As spring break approaches, you are encouraged to consider how your personal travels are or may be affected by the spread of viruses such as the coronavirus. If you have business travel scheduled, please touch base with a cabinet member to be sure you have the latest information regarding the Seminary’s guidelines.
We will continue to monitor the official information regarding travel. If you are planning any international travel during Spring Break, we ask you to avoid countries marked as level three by the CDC as indicated on this page of their website.
If you travel over Spring Break, please monitor your emails from the Seminary and check back on this page for the latest updates on this situation.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
Students, faculty, and staff who experience symptoms similar to COVID-19 must self-isolate, stay home, and self-monitor. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home and seek medical advice. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if your healthcare provider believes you have COVID-19, contact Heather Zdancewicz. We are preparing contingency plans by identifying isolation/quarantine stations.
Isolation for students: If students get sick, we ask you to refrain from coming to class or any other gatherings and let us know. Please take your temperature twice a day. If you have a fever of over 100.4, contact your family doctor and follow their instructions. There will not be punitive consequences for missing classes because of illness. If you are diagnosed with the coronavirus or have been exposed to someone who has and have been instructed to self-isolate by your physician or government official, please contact Heather Zdancewicz.