Mar 19, 2020
By John Bernhards, Executive Director
On December 31 of last year, China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of several, severe cases of an unusual pneumonia originating in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people. Soon identified as a novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the illness spread quickly through areas of China and then globally within the space of just 12 weeks. As of this writing, there are 170,000 documented cases of COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in 6,500 deaths.
Without much warning the Coronavirus outbreak has become a global disrupter.
For campus police and public safety professionals, this is an immensely challenging time. Health and government officials are regularly issuing updated advisories to schools and communities. Many IACLEA member professionals have been thrust into key emergency planning leadership roles, working closely with administrators, college presidents, and other campus personnel to protect their students and campuses.
In atypical times like these, awareness of others’ decisions and best practices by our peers throughout the world are so very critical to the safety and well-being of our campus communities.
You may already be aware that IACLEA has posted a variety of COVID-19 resources, advisories, and information on the IACLEA website. We continue to monitor and update our content daily.
In addition to making information publicly available on our home page, IACLEA CONNECTIONS, our online member portal, offers resources and discussion among members. The Campus Preparedness Resource Library is where you can find vital information. Please take advantage of CONNECTIONS for reliable answers and rapid, practical advice from your peers. Put your questions and experiences online, and you are certain to find someone in IACLEA’s network who can respond with recommendations, and who will also appreciate your own recommendations and comments.
IACLEA is also moving forward with Emerging Issues conference calls focused on the latest COVID-19 information. IACLEA members and colleagues will share on the calls what they are witnessing on campus, as well as the latest efforts their universities are taking to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, and the implications of the disease to campus law enforcement and safety. We expect to produce these calls frequently, as we bring our member community together on this issue. Our COVID-19 Emerging Issues calls will also be archived on CONNECTIONS for your access shortly after they take place.
Public safety officers are more susceptible to exposure of the virus than most, as they interact daily with the public on campus and are called upon in related campus emergencies. Officer safety and wellness must always be front and center. Many thanks to our members for sharing information and the training materials they are using to raise awareness among campus officers on how to personally protect themselves and their peers on the job. We look forward to receiving such information from others, as well.
What can we expect next? While things are changing daily, you can rely on IACLEA to support you in this challenging time. We encourage you to continue sharing information and leading best practices you have cultivated on your campus and area communities. Let’s get through it together.
Yours in Safety,