March 17 2020 UPDATE
Consistent with our announced plan, and in communication with our university partners, students, faculty, and others, we have made the decision to cancel our spring semester in-person programs. Students are returning to the United States, and we will be shifting to an online format for our remaining Sustainable Development Studies Semester programs.
All students from both our direct-enroll program (SDS) and the University of Minnesota’s MSID program are being provided with both a paper mask, and an N95 mask for their trip back to the US. We are also providing instructions in how to use the masks, alcohol pads to sanitize any touch screens they may need to interact with (like those in US Customs), and a TSA/travel sized hand sanitizer gel.
As we consider the seriousness of the widespread outbreaks of COVID-19, we are committed to student health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our staff and partner communities in Thailand. Our response team is monitoring the latest COVID-19 updates and recommendations to assess the evolving risk to our students, staff, and communities.
While dealing with the reality of resource constraints, the public health response in Thailand has been robust, with extra screening of passengers entering Thailand, a large public education campaign, screening at both public and private spaces (screening upon entering the mall, for example), tracking of those who may have been exposed, as well as testing suspected cases. The major government hospitals can test, and they are rolling it out to smaller hospitals as well. Each tambon (district) within each province has a team of public health officers assigned to monitoring the situation. They are sharing resources and information between provinces, as well as cross-training people in the hospitality sector, etc.
ISDSI Prevention Response
ISDSI has taken the following preventative measures:
- Providing hand sanitizer in every classroom and in public spaces
- Providing masks (regular and N95) and portable personal refillable hand sanitizers for students and staff as needed, along with instructions on their use
- Posting educational signs throughout campus, CrossFit Chiang Mai, RX Cafe, and the ISDSI Coffee Lab as a reminder to wash and sanitize hands regularly and practice social distancing
- Groundskeeping staff clean doors and other highly-trafficked surfaces multiple times per day
- ISDSI staff, students, and lecturers must comply with the Thai government recommendations for quarantine if travel history includes countries identified by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health as high risk.
In addition to these actions, we are providing training sessions to students, staff, and the community in partnership with a field epidemiologist from the Thailand Ministry of Public Health to educate in hand washing, avoiding hand-to-face contact, social distancing, when how to properly wear a mask if you are sick, coughing into elbow, and other prevention practices.
Any staff member or student who displays symptoms has been requested to stay home, contact us, and we will facilitate treatment and testing as appropriate.