What local colleges, universities are doing to prevent spread of coronavirus

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Colleges and universities across Southern New England are taking steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus now that cases have popped up in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The R.I. Department of Health recently reported two presumptive positive cases and is in the process of testing a third patient. In Massachusetts, a UMass Boston student was identified earlier this month as the state’s first confirmed case of the virus, and on Monday night, the Mass. Department of Public Health announced its first presumptive positive case.

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With guidance from local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several institutions are implementing preventative measures to keep students and staff members healthy.

Below are messages from local colleges and universities addressing the coronavirus outbreak. (More will be added as they’re obtained by Eyewitness News.)


Community College of Rhode Island

“Good morning,

“Below please find the latest update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) that we shared with the CCRI students, faculty and staff.  Briefly, CCRI has taken the following latest measures:

  • Effective immediately, CCRI is suspending all college-sponsored international travel for the near future. This includes any international travel associated with the college as a CCRI employee or student, including travel funded by a government grant, foundation, company or other private entity.
  • All CCRI faculty, staff and students who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan in the last 14 days and going forward must notify the college and should remain at home until 14 symptom-free days have passed from the date of their return to Rhode Island. 
  1. Students should email Dean of Students Michael Cunningham for guidance on classes. Please provide your name, CCRI ID, contact information, and details related to your self-quarantine.
  2. Faculty and Staff should email Director of Human Resources Sybil Bailey for guidance on work. Please provide your name, contact information, department or direct report, and details related to your self-quarantine.
  • At this time, there are no restrictions on domestic travel.  However, we are urging everyone to carefully monitor updates in the areas to which they are planning to travel to help avoid travel disruptions because of unexpected local health conditions.
  • CCRI strongly urges all faculty, staff and students to adhere to any request from the RI Dept. of Health to self-quarantine, even if they feel well.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Saturday, March 7, 2020):

On March 6, 2020, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced a third presumptive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Rhode Island.  We know the individual who has tested positive is NOT a student or an employee of CCRI.

According to RIDOH, the person is a woman in her 60s who works at the Smithfield Avenue Nursery School in Pawtucket and is believed to have contracted COVID-19 through a person in New York who tested positive for the virus. RIDOH is working to identify people who had contact with the woman, including children and adults associated with the nursery school.  Individuals who had contact with the woman will be asked to go into self-quarantine.

If you are contacted by RIDOH and asked to go into self-quarantine, CCRI strongly urges you to adhere to that request to contain the community spread of the virus, even if you feel well.

Effective immediately, CCRI is suspending all college-sponsored international travel for the near future. This includes any international travel associated with the college as a CCRI employee or student, including travel funded by a government grant, foundation, company or other private entity.

In addition, all CCRI faculty, staff and students who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan in the last 14 days and going forward must notify the college and should remain at home until 14 symptom-free days have passed from the date of your return to Rhode Island.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed Level Two and Level Three Travel Health Notices on these countries because they are experiencing sustained or community transmission of COVID-19.

If you are asked by RIDOH to self-quarantine or if you have traveled to one of the identified countries in the past 14 days, please notify CCRI at the contacts below:

Students
Email Dean of Students Michael Cunningham for guidance on classes. Please provide your name, CCRI ID, contact information, and details related to your self-quarantine.

Faculty and Staff
Email Director of Human Resources Sybil Bailey for guidance on work. Please provide your name, contact information, department or direct report, and details related to your self-quarantine.

If you are in self-quarantine, you should also inform RIDOH’s Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 401-222-2577, who will provide guidance and any necessary support services.

For any member of the CCRI community that feels unwell, it is important to stay home. If you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms, RIDOH asks you to contact your healthcare professional for guidance. RIDOH has also established a hotline (401-222-8022) to answer questions and to offer guidance. 

At this time, there are no restrictions on domestic travel.  However, if you are considering domestic travel, please carefully monitor updates in the areas to which you are planning to travel. Doing so may help you avoid travel disruptions because of unexpected local health conditions.

This is an evolving situation. Please be aware that it is likely other countries or regions may be added to the CDC Level Two or Level Three list of areas that may require mandatory or self-quarantine upon return.  If you are traveling, please monitor the CDC Travel page for the latest updates on impacted countries and regions.


University of Rhode Island

“Dear students, faculty and staff,

“With the number of cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) growing in the United States and new cases reported over the weekend in Rhode Island, I am writing to you to discuss the steps the University has been taking to ensure the health and safety of all community members.

“At the moment, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 at URI. Information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that at this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. The CDC says this virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. We also continue to work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health on this issue.

“In addition, we have established a dedicated website where you can read all of the updates we have distributed to our community. Most of these messages list the steps that community members can take to avoid coming down with the flu and COVID-19.

“Our community should also remember that seasonal influenza is widespread on campus, in the state and around the country. The preventive measures for COVID-19, flu and flu-like symptoms are the same.

“To help keep yourself and your family healthy, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and warm water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home from work, school.
  • Do not share utensils, water bottles, or other personal items. Many germs that cause viral illness are spread through saliva.
  • Wipe down common items like phones, keyboards, remote controls, doorknobs, and railings with a disinfectant.

“Given the intense media coverage of the illness, I want to assure you that your well being is our top concern. Led by teams from Health Services and Emergency Management, every administrative unit at URI has been involved in preparing for and responding to this global outbreak.

“Starting in mid-January, we convened a team made up of leaders from Health Services, Emergency Management, the Division of Student Affairs, the Division of Academic Affairs and Office of the Provost, the Division of Administration and Finance, the International Center and Communications to address all aspects of this issue.

“In January, our first priority was to get seven of our students home safely from China. They all arrived back home and have remained healthy.

“Since then, we have been communicating frequently with our students, faculty and staff through electronic community notices. We maintain direct communication with our study-abroad-students and are now helping those in Italy to return home. We are asking that these students upon return to the United States, go directly home for a period of time and do not come directly to campus. The provost’s office is working closely with these students to help them complete their academic requirements, and Health Services will continue to remotely monitor their health status while they re-adjust at home.

“We continue to monitor events as they unfold here in Rhode Island, across the country and around the world and will keep you updated on the University’s actions through email, the website and other communication vehicles as this situation develops. Thank you for working together to help our students and our entire community remain healthy.”

David M. Dooley


Providence College

“Dear members of the Providence College community:

“As we begin the week, I wish to provide updated information and reminders relative to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“While the risk of infection remains low, state officials have now confirmed two presumptive cases of the virus here in Rhode Island and a third person is being tested. As state officials reported on Sunday, the people suspected of having contracted the virus recently traveled to Italy.

“We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide more information as warranted, but our advice remains the same as it was last week: take precautions to keep yourself healthy and make sure you stay informed about specific health and travel advisories.”

Protective Measures

“We have created this web page with links to useful sources and with details about steps you can take to keep yourself healthy. Your first line of defense is these measures recommended by the Rhode Island Department of Health:

  • Get a seasonal flu vaccine – it’s not too late! (Call your primary care provider or stop by any pharmacy as many now offer flu shots.)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home in order to protect yourself and other people.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading any virus to others or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

“If you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and you have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath), as described on the Rhode Island Department of Health website, you should call the Student Health Center (for students) or your healthcare provider (for faculty and staff).

“The Student Health Center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and the phone number is (4010 865-2422. After hours and on weekends, call (401) 865-2391.”

Travel Considerations

“Extensive advice for travelers is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Certain travel restrictions are already in place and it is possible that new ones, including quarantines, could be implemented in the coming days and weeks. We encourage you to keep those considerations in mind as you consider your travel plans.

“The Center for Global Education is working closely with students who are studying abroad (and their families). After careful consideration of all relevant factors, we have decided to cancel spring break travel programs to Europe and Latin America. We are also suspending College-sponsored international faculty and/or staff travel through March.”

Managing Anxiety

‘News reports about the coronavirus, together with speculation that it could become more widespread, can, understandably, make people anxious. Here are some tips to help manage anxiety and put news reports in perspective, provided by the staff at PC’s Personal Counseling Center.

“In light of all the information we are sharing today, I also wish to emphasize the importance of compassion and understanding. Ours is a community that prides itself on taking care of each other. It has always been that way, and it will continue to be as we navigate these concerns.

“I am grateful to those members of our community who are working hard to help keep all of us safe and healthy. We have an excellent response team, which continues to monitor this situation and meet regularly. If you have a specific question, please contact one of the people listed below. We will provide updates as new information becomes available.”

Sincerely,
Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80
College President


Bryant University

“We are reaching out to you with an update on the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on some of our students engaged in learning abroad, those who come from affected areas and to provide information to those who are planning to travel during spring break.

“Yesterday, March 1, The Rhode Island Department of Health announced the state’s first “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to the department, the person is in their 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department have recently elevated travel advisories for some countries. It is important that anyone planning to travel abroad consult these websites for travel advisories.”

Helpful Links

Study Abroad

“Cindi Lewis, Bryant’s Director of Global Education, Study Abroad, is actively engaged with students whose programs have been modified or canceled and those who need information about travel within or across affected regions. She has recently been in touch with all of our students abroad, including three students currently studying in Italy. Students studying abroad should continue to contact the staff of their abroad academic centers for the promptest support. Families with concerns are best assisted by contacting their sons or daughters, who are receiving frequent updates from their academic centers.

“As a precaution, all Bryant students returning from study and/or travel abroad will stay home for two weeks before returning to campus, and upon return to campus they are required to check in with Health Services.”

Spring Break

“We strongly advise those of you with plans to travel over spring break to consult the CDC COVID-19 website for updates on the virus. Advice there includes being up-to-date on immunizations as well as having a flu shot. A page specific to spring break travel has helpful tips. Should you decide to travel internationally, please register your travel with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) which provides access to alerts from the local embassies and consulates. In accordance with CDC guidelines, travelers to regions with confirmed COVID-19 cases (including Italy) who feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are advised to stay home, avoid contact with others, and immediately seek medical attention.

“Students who travel internationally should regularly consult with the State Department travel advisory regarding travel restrictions before and during the spring break. We will continue to share news and will remain in close and regular communication with all members of our community abroad. The best way to stay informed is to:

  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures.
  • Check email and Bryant University’s emergency website, emergency.bryant.edu, regularly for important updates from the University or your program.

“We also urge the campus community to follow some simple but effective illness prevention measures regardless of your location:

  • It is not too late to get a seasonal flu vaccine. (Call your primary care provider or stop by any pharmacy as many now offer flu shots.)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home in order to protect yourself and other people.• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading any virus to others, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Bryant University Campus

“Members of the Bryant Student Affairs and Health Services teams, Human Resources, Academic Affairs, International Affairs, and our off-campus partners are doing as much as possible to keep our community healthy and are preparing for a range of possible developments. Bryant University has an Emergency Response Team in place, and that team will continue to meet to develop contingency plans that minimize risk and ensure the continuity of academics at the Bryant.”

Sincerely,

Ronald K. Machtley
President


Roger Williams University

“Dear campus community,

“We are closely watching the evolving news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak locally and globally, and have been adhering to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisories related to the virus. While this has been a global concern, particularly in Asia and Europe, we see the early reporting on how this virus is affecting us locally as well. Our Emergency Response Team is meeting regularly and on various conference calls with state Department of Health officials to stay ahead of the changing conditions. The following are the recent actions we’ve taken to keep the campus community safe.

“Events and information are moving at a rapid pace that requires quick decision making. As Roger Williams University has learned with our ISI Florence, Italy study abroad program, the spread of the virus accelerated the CDC classification of Italy from a Level 1 to a Level 3 Travel Warning in less than one week, moving from a handful of cases a week ago to over 2,000 cases in Italy today. Our Florence students will return to their homes; they will not be returning to campus. In accordance with CDC guidelines, RWU is advising these students to self-quarantine for the recommended observation period and we have asked that they not have any personal contact with the campus or RWU community members until they’ve completed the self-quarantine period.

“Due to such rapid change patterns that we are seeing abroad and newer CDC advisories on international student travel, RWU has decided to cancel all RWU-sponsored international travel programs during spring break. These have not been easy decisions to make, but we must prioritize the safety and well-being of our students and employees. We do not want to send students and faculty into an uncertain situation that can change in a matter of days or even hours. International travel is currently a fluid situation in which countries that have reported a low number of cases of the virus may suddenly experience a widespread outbreak and begin restricting travel or implementing quarantines.

“As we react to the more urgent widespread outbreak for our community members abroad, we also now face at home the first presumptive cases reported in Rhode Island. It is understandable that there will be anxiety about its impact on our campuses and many questions will arise as each day passes. At the current time, it is critical to remember that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 remains low for our campus community. RWU is following the same practices and protocols for this as we do for preventing the spread of the common flu. We are advising students and employees who feel ill to stay home and to take preventive measures to limit the spread of flu and other similar viruses. These are personal measures that we should all do as our part for keeping our community healthy during flu season.

“We will remain vigilant while continuing to operate and we will continue preparations for our readiness to respond to events as they transpire. As the situation continues to move quickly, we will be communicating more frequent updates with the campus community.”

Sincerely,

Yannis Miaoulis


Salve Regina University

“In response to the rapidly changing and unpredictable nature of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which includes a growing number of cases being reported in Italy and the possibility of travel restrictions on the horizon in Europe, we reached out by e-mail on Friday to all six of our students currently studying abroad in Italy with a strong recommendation that they return to their homes in the U.S. as soon as possible. While none of these students are located in the primary outbreak areas in northern Italy (they are enrolled in programs in Rome and Florence), all are currently in the process of making arrangements to return home. For those students in Italy who will be ending their studies abroad, Salve Regina is working closely with our Italian academic partners to ensure that they are able to complete their coursework remotely from home, whether by working directly with our partners, with Salve Regina or a combination of the two. In instances where remote access is not possible, Salve Regina will develop a plan for course completion.

“The university has canceled the short-term study abroad program (MUS399), a course that was to take place in Salzburg and Austria during Salve’s spring break period, March 14-22. Peter Davis, chairman of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, is preparing a plan to ensure that all students enrolled in the MUS399 course will be able to complete the course this semester and meet course contact hour requirements despite the cancellation of the program.

“Currently, Salve Regina is not recommending that students studying abroad in other countries return home. The institution’s leadership will continue to closely monitor developments and follow guidance from the U.S. Embassy, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and our academic partners abroad.

“Our Office of International Programs staff has been in regular contact via e-mail with all students enrolled in study abroad programs this semester, as well as their families.

“With regard to on-campus preparation, the university has a Pandemic Illness Emergency Plan and university leaders are meeting regularly to monitor the situation as it relates to continuity of operations as this rapidly evolving outbreak continues to unfold. Currently, there is no identified risk to members of the Salve Regina campus community.

“A web page has also been established at salve.edu/coronavirus that will be amended regularly as new information is received and courses of action are determined. This is a fluid situation in terms of diagnosis and recommended protocols from outside agencies. The University is committed to keeping students, faculty, staff and parents informed, and is implementing more ways to do so throughout the upcoming days.

“Because human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, all community members are reminded to take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.

  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.”

Rhode Island School of Design

“Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) suspended the remainder of its study abroad program in Rome last week ahead of the travel advisory being escalated in Italy. We made this decision strictly as a precautionary measure. Our students did not travel to any area in which COVID-19 was reported and none have exhibited any symptoms.

“While the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are not requiring quarantine for people returning from Italy, out of an abundance of caution, we have asked our students to follow CDC-recommended behavior for asymptomatic persons who have a history of travel to affected geographic areas. This includes keeping a distance from others and not attending public events and gatherings, such as classes. We have and will continue to closely follow the recommendations of these organizations as well as the Rhode Island Department of Health.”


Brown University

“Dear Families of Brown Students,

“We are writing to share information provided to your student regarding Brown University’s response and preparedness for 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). We sent this message over the weekend to all students, staff and faculty. Brown takes the care of members of our community very seriously, and we continue to share guidance and resources regarding safeguarding personal health, travel (including Brown’s policies on high-risk and restricted travel), and preparations to ensure continuity of academic operations. 

“It’s important to note that there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Brown campus. A presumptive case is one that has tested positive by the Rhode Island Department of Health, and a confirmed case is one that has subsequently tested positive by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While this is an ever-changing situation, no significant risks to the Brown community in Rhode Island have been identified, and the risk of COVID-19 in our area remains low. 

“As we shared with the campus community Saturday afternoon, the medical doctors who lead the University’s health services are in constant and continuous communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health. If there are any changes in medical and public health guidance, we will communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps.  

“We have established a webpage to share up-to-date information about Brown’s interventions to support the health and wellbeing of our campus community, and we will post to this site any status updates, including any major effects on programs and operations, should they occur. We ask all families to rely on this website as an ongoing resource. New updates will be posted regularly to the website moving forward.

“For more information, visit https://www.brown.edu/covid.”

Sincerely,

Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life
Rashid Zia, Dean of the College


Wheaton College

“As the health and safety of our campus community is of paramount importance, Wheaton College officials are closely monitoring the ongoing developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), have provided advice regarding healthy practices and will continue to keep the campus community updated on the evolving situation.

It is important to emphasize there are no suspected or confirmed cases at Wheaton and there have been only two cases of infection reported in Massachusetts. There is no immediate threat to the community.

“There are no Wheaton College students who reside in Wuhan nor are there any students currently studying abroad in China for the spring semester. All of our Chinese students returned to campus or were at their study abroad location before travel out of China became restricted. A few students have been impacted by travel and isolation guidance while studying abroad.

Student Health Advisories

“On January 22, February 4, and February 27, 2020, our associate director of health services sent out email advisories to the entire campus community, including staff, faculty and students, reminding them about flu season and informing them about the ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel coronavirus. Students were also emailed a reminder on January 27 and February 14, 2020. The advisories provided links to information about the virus, travel notices provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Statethe World Health Organization’s public advice, and a link to Wheaton’s flu advisory pages. The advisories also provided guidance on what to do if you have been in close contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and what you should do if you develop respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of travel to one of the impacted areas.

“Norton Medical Center providers and Wheaton College’s associate director of health services are receiving constant updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regarding guidance on clinical signs and symptoms, infection prevention and control recommendations, and travel updates.

“Tips for avoiding the flu and other illnesses have been offered to the campus community, including getting a flu shot; frequently washing or sanitizing hands; covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve; cleaning things that are touched often, such as keyboards and phones; staying home if you’re sick; and avoiding close contact with others who are sick.  Wheaton also offers students who are ill an opportunity to take advantage of the Meal Plan Pick-up Program provided by Dining Services.

Travel Advisories

“Another reminder on the travel advisories were communicated from our dean for global education on February 10, 2020 to staff, faculty and students. Per Wheaton’s Travel Advisory Policy and based on the State Department’s reclassification, China is now considered a no-travel zone. At this time, the college’s guidelines on travel to China are as follows: No Wheaton faculty, staff or students will be permitted to travel to China under the auspices of Wheaton College, whether it be a for-credit program, work-related and/or financed by the college. We strongly recommend deferring other types of travel (leisure, personal interest) to affected areas for the foreseeable future.

“On February 27 and March 2, 2020, our Dean of Students communicated to faculty, staff and students In regards to the U.S. Department of State and the CDC’s travel advisory levels and alerts for several countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. All campus community members are strongly encouraged to weigh the necessity of any travel against the potential hazards and to monitor travel advisories due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Any international travel carries a risk that you could be quarantined or prevented from returning to the U.S. In many countries there may be new and unexpected entry and exit control measures, and even quarantines implemented with very little notice during the coming weeks. The safest option is to postpone trips until the outbreak subsides as these actions could severely impact plans and/or delay to return home.

“With travel for spring break, personal trips or college-sponsored travel in mind, Wheaton is advising students, faculty and staff returning from Italy, South Korea, Japan, China, Iran and any country or region designated in the future by the CDC as one with a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Advisory to practice self-isolation and social distancing. Our Dean of Students, Provost and Associate Vice President of Human Resources communicated self-isolation and social distancing guidance to the campus community on March 2.

“Because this situation is likely to continue to rapidly change, we encourage community members to frequently check both U.S. Department of State and CDC websites to find updated guidance for any destination as well as for those additional countries planned for visit.

“Please note that non-U.S. citizens who may be able to travel to China over spring break are not guaranteed return to the U.S., given the current travel restrictions. Chinese citizens whose passports have been issued by the provinces that have been especially impacted may not be allowed to leave China.

Study Away Program Impact

“Wheaton’s Center for Global Education has been in contact with Wheaton students who are currently studying abroad and those planning to depart for programs in the next couple of months.  Additionally, students studying abroad should follow guidance and instructions from host institutions and programs. A few students have been impacted by travel and isolation guidance in other countries. Wheaton will continue to monitor these destinations and communicate with students, as appropriate. In the future, the college may cancel or shorten such trips if it becomes necessary for safety reasons.

“There are no college-sponsored international trips planned for the upcoming spring break.  At this time, the college is not limiting domestic travel as the risk assessment for the United States remains low. However, should students who are planning to participate in college-sponsored domestic travel wish to withdraw due to concerns about the virus, the college will work with each participant to avoid academic and financial penalties. The college also offers all students the option of staying on campus over spring break without charge.”


UMass Dartmouth

“Dear campus community,

“I am writing to provide important new guidance on the evolving nature of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation. There are reports of increasing cases in areas such as South Korea, Japan, and Italy. With these developments, we are closely evaluating university associated with international travel to ensure we can best support our faculty, staff, and students.

“There have been no cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at UMass Dartmouth.

“To ensure the continued safety of our community members who are studying, working, and traveling abroad, please see the additional measures below:

For students:

  • The International Student & Scholar Center is currently in contact with students abroad to ensure their wellbeing and to offer the assistance of the university. We are continuously monitoring the circumstances across the globe and in communication with our international partner organizations.
  • Should the travel condition in the area where you are studying abroad reach the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Level 3 or U.S. State Department Level 4 travel advisory, we will require that you leave the area. The International Student & Scholar Center will immediately contact you to facilitate your safe departure and inform you about academic continuity plans.

For faculty and staff:

  • As you know, we require all faculty and staff to upload your itineraries for all university-related travel into Terra Dotta. For guidance on this process, please visit the UMass Terra Dotta site. This system will automatically send you travel alerts and text messages.
  • Any employee seeking to travel to a CDC Level 3 or U.S. State Department Level 3 or 4 country must receive written approval from the International Advisory Council’s Risk Management Committee by contacting Michael LaGrassa (mlagrassa@umassd.edu).

For residential students who would like to stay on campus over spring break:

“Residential students who would like to stay on campus over spring break must complete the online form for Housing and Residential Education by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4. Follow these instructions to do so:

  1. Log in to the UMass Dartmouth portal.
  2. Click on “Student Resources”.
  3. Click on the Student Housing Information Portal (StarRez).
  4. If necessary, click on the Student SSO Login toward the bottom of the page.
  5. Click “Housing Processes”, then select “Spring Break Application”.
  6. Fill out that application.
  7. General Guidance about Upcoming Travel

“We realize that many students, faculty, and staff may have plans to travel over the upcoming spring break period. As this situation is rapidly evolving, we recommend that all members of the community evaluate travel plans on a daily, rather than weekly basis. The CDC frequently asked questions page is updated regularly with information about travel.”

General health precautions to take during flu season and with the coronavirus:

“As a reminder, the risk of contracting this illness remains low in the United States, but to prevent the spread of many infections, please practice good hygiene, including:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Staying home when you are sick;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; and
  • Getting a flu shot if you have not already done so.”

Want to learn more about the Coronavirus?

“Student Health Services and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will sponsor an informational session about the Coronavirus on Tuesday, March 3 at 3 p.m. in the Main Auditorium. Please join Drs. Marianne Sullivan, Nancy Street, and Monika Schuler for this timely and important session.”

How should we plan for extended absences for faculty, staff, and students should our community be impacted?

“Human Resources will be issuing guidance for faculty and staff concerning business continuity preparation and general absence management in the event a faculty or staff member or a family member becomes symptomatic. The Provost’s office will work with College Deans and Department Chairs to address concerns about associated student absences.”

“I want to reiterate that there have been no cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at UMass Dartmouth.

“For general questions or comments about COVID-19, please call Student Health Services at (508) 999-8982. You can find all the latest information on our Health Advisory website, including frequently asked questions.

“Any student who is feeling worried or concerned for family or friends abroad should contact Counseling Services at (508) 999-8648. Faculty and staff are encouraged to call Human Resources at (508) 999-8060.

“Your safety, well-being, and ability to continue your studies, teaching, research, and other daily activities remain the highest priorities for the entire leadership of UMass Dartmouth.”

With gratitude,
Robert E. Johnson PhD
Chancellor
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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