FAIRFIELD — Maharishi International University president John Hagelin outlined the steps the school is taking amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that is plaguing the state.

In an editorial published in Wednesday’s Southeast Iowa Union newspaper, Hagelin announced several key decisions the school has made regarding operations at both the university and at Maharishi School.

“I know that everyone in the community is concerned about the spreading coronavirus, and many have asked me about the actions we are taking here on the MIU campus, where we have students from around the country and around the world” Hagelin said. “I want everyone to know that we are taking all possible precautions to protect the healthy and safety of everyone in our MIU and Fairfield community.”

The university has worked with multiple local and state agencies, including both the Jefferson County and state public health departments, in addressing its concerns.

Among the most important:

• Maharishi School is closed until further notice.

• The university canceled spring break, and there is a campus-wide travel restriction outside of Jefferson County for all students and employees.

• As of Monday, on-campus classes are now online, though students needing extra support can meet in small groups, but with no more than 10 people. The school can’t physically close because of the high number of international students who won’t be able to travel to their native countries.

• Only MIU students, faculty and staff may use the dining all, but must keep social distancing to at least 6 feet apart.

• The recreation center is closed in favor of a “virtual rec center” with online fitness sessions, etc. Also, students and staff are encouraged to perform any business (financial aid, enrollment, banking) remotely if possible.

• All campus events requiring more than 10 people are canceled.

• The university will provide auxiliary hospital facilities and beds if Jefferson County Health Center should become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, there had been no confirmed cases of the new virus in the county.

The university is requiring people to stay home if they are not feeling well for at least three days after all symptoms are gone, which is in addition to 14 days of isolation.

“I’m proud of the tireless, dedicated work of our facility and administrative leaders over these past few weeks. I’m grateful to our city of Fairfield, and to all those who have been working with such dedication to safeguard the health of our community,” he said.

“We are all indebted to you.”

Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

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