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Message to the Community

Red vs blueDear CSBS community,

As we deal with COVID-19, I wanted to bring some resources to you and also thoughts about what we as social scientists know about dealing with these sorts of events.  To keep up to date about all things related to the U and COVID-19, please consult the Department of Public Safety.  Our university and the state more broadly are doing an excellent job of planning for this outbreak. 

The steps taken to restrict travel and move to online courses are consistent with steps taken in universities across the country, at federal agencies (e.g., NSF, NASA), and increasingly in private industry as part of a worldwide effort to reduce the spread of the disease.  These steps although difficult, are time-limited, and are quite effective for reducing the spread of disease that can overwhelm the medical system for those who are most ill and in need of healthcare.  This is one of those times that we need to take difficult steps for the greater good (see also Dr. Good’s presentation).

As social scientists, I would ask that you share what we know about coping with these events to those in your communities.

1) Prepare, don’t panic.  We know that active coping techniques like “washing one’s hands,” and “limiting travel and large gatherings,” are more effective than worrying and catastrophizing.  Think about how the steps we are taking will be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

2) Stress can make you vulnerable.  Dealing with stress through active coping techniques as well as mindful meditation, exercise, good sleep, healthy eating, and social support are also effective at making us less vulnerable to all illnesses.

3) Engage in good health behaviors and encourage others to do the same.  If you are feeling ill, then stay at home and encourage others to do the same. 

4) Be informed.  Keep up to date from reliable resources such as the CDC and John Hopkins

5) Remember individuals differ in their reaction to these stressful situations.  Some individuals will feel extreme distress in this situation, others will not.  Understand that both reactions are individuals’ experience and work to show empathy for others’ reactions.  If you or others are experiencing extreme distress, students should contact the Counseling Center (801-581-6826) and faculty and staff the Employee Assistance Program (801-587-9319).

6) Social support is important in times of stress.  As we are asked to engage in social distancing, remember we need each other in times of stress.  Reach out to a friend, family member, students, or co-worker by phone, text, or social media. 

Feel free to share your ideas on this site.  The CSBS and larger university community are here to assist in this challenging time.  Please know that we have the health and well-being of all of you students, faculty, and staff as well as progress toward educational and research goals top of mind.  As our mission states, we are devoted to “Inspiring Human Solutions to Life’s Challenges.” 


Cindy Berg

Last Updated: 3/12/20