Update to the Community on the Coronavirus

Feb. 9, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Since the last communication from the Brandeis Health Center, the U.S. Department of State has raised its travel advisory for mainland China to “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” and has placed major restrictions on incoming travelers from China.  Also, the U.S. government declared a public health emergency barring entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals who are traveling from China.  In addition the US government now requires U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in China's Hubei Province in the past 14 days to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine if they travel back to the United States.  For those returning from other provinces they will be screened, monitored and instructed to "self-quarantine." 

Based on these updates, we are restricting all Brandeis students, faculty, and staff from traveling to China on official university business, effective immediately. The university will actively monitor guidance from the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the intention of removing restrictions as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. This restriction applies only to those traveling to China for university purposes. However, we strongly recommend that those who are planning travel to China for personal reasons reconsider such plans.

As you know, a case of the coronavirus has been reported in Boston, one of twelve cases identified to date in the United States.  If you have been to Wuhan in the last 14 days OR have had close contact with someone who has contracted the virus in the last 14 days AND are exhibiting symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, or coughing, there are some simple steps to take:

  • If you are a student, please call the Brandeis Health Center at 781-736-3677 for advice on the next steps. We have screening, testing, and care protocols in place.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their primary care physician. As a courtesy, a follow-up call to the Health Center would be appreciated so we are aware.
  • Friends and family should contact their primary care physician or local emergency room for advice and screening.

We have established a working group that is working closely with local and state public health officials who are monitoring the virus.  This working group will update our current contingency plans as necessary.

We are also in the midst of the cold and flu season. Influenza activity remains elevated in the Boston area. To reduce the risk of getting or spreading a viral illness:

  • Get the flu shot. These are available for students at the Health Center.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover your cough
  • Stay home when you have a fever or are vomiting

Given these circumstance it is understandable that people are concerned for their health.  At Brandeis, we should remain aware that this is an especially stressful time for members of our community who are affected by the coronavirus because of its impact on their families and communities or the stigma they may be experiencing in public settings.  I ask that everyone treat one another with dignity and respect, so that we sustain the supportive, inclusive, and compassionate community that is rooted in our founding values. 

 

Sincerely,

Lisa M. Lynch

Provost