About Manchester

COVID-19 media and social  media


From: Van Vlerah, Abagail L <ALVanVlerah@manchester.edu>
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2020 8:06 AM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: COVID-19 media and social media

Dear Colleagues,

Despite our best efforts, it is almost guaranteed that members of the Manchester community will contract COVID-19 at some point during the fall semester.

We are doing all we can to minimize the risk, and we have protocols in place should that happen. Manchester recently conducted a tabletop exercise, working through what we’ll do with that first case, and we are further refining our plans as we move forward.

This first tabletop exercise concerned what happens if a student in a residence hall tests positive. Our response includes isolation from campus interaction until the student has recovered, either by going home or going into a room set aside for isolation. We would help public health officials in contact tracing efforts so that notification can be made as quickly as possible to those with whom the individual was in close contact.

Contact tracing seeks to identify close contacts of infected individuals, or those who have had extended or frequent contact, typically within less than 6 feet and for more than 15 minutes. The person’s roommate would almost surely qualify, so there are quarantine rooms where they can stay until they are cleared to return to class.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. We have rooms set aside in each residence hall, as is an entire floor of one.

Any positive test results at a Manchester campus will be added to the COVID dashboard at https://www.manchester.edu/student-life/health-and-sports-medicine/medical-alerts. After we receive notification of a positive case, we will not release information that would identify the individual involved. Not only would that violate their rights, but also it is not the Manchester way.

If someone you know gets sick or is waiting to learn whether they are, they need our support. This includes respecting their privacy on social media. Your expressions of caring may be well intended, but health issues of any kind can be intensely personal and many people do not want to share that information. It is their story – not yours – to tell, if they choose to.  We have a close-knit community, and it is too easy to post information that inadvertently identifies someone who is not ready or never wants their COVID-19 status in the public eye.

If you are contacted by the media asking about COVID-19, please direct them to Anne Gregory in media relations at 260-982-5285 during business hours or 260-417-5061 (cell) after hours. If you see an unescorted reporter on campus, text or call her cell. They must make an appointment to visit campus and agree to follow our rules about masks, etc.

We ask all members of our community to take steps to ensure that we all stay as healthy as possible.  Please refer to https://www.manchester.edu/docs/default-source/default-document-library/spartans-united-reopening-plan.pdf for guidance and recommended everyday actions.

Individuals with concerns about potential exposure to the coronavirus are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician and notify the COVID-19 response team at health@manchester.edu.



Abby Van Vlerah, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Vice President of Student Life
604 E. College Ave.
North Manchester, IN 46962
E: alvanvlerah@manchester.edu