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February 4, 2020

Feb. 4, 2020

Dear Holy Cross Parents:

We wanted to send you an update regarding our efforts to monitor and respond to concerns related to the novel coronavirus. This information has also been provided to all our students in an effort to keep our community informed about the virus and the College’s response.

Information about the virus and its spread continues to evolve on a daily basis. Our response is informed by ongoing contact with the Massachusetts Department of Health, which is receiving information from the CDC and other health organizations for the most up-to-date protocols and recommendations. The College also has access to the Department of Health’s epidemiologist, and we are in ongoing communication with them. 

Last week, the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus a global health emergency. In response, the State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for China, advising people “do not travel to China.” On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented additional restrictions on travel to and from China. While health organizations are still trying to understand this virus, the most current information is likely available on the CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage.  

Officials indicate that the risk to those in the United States remains low. Nevertheless, we have taken a number of steps to respond to this situation. First, a subset of our Emergency Response Team has been meeting regularly to monitor and discuss the situation. We remain engaged with global, federal, state, and local health organizations in our continued effort to obtain the most current information on the virus and understand and implement the most current recommendations. We have partnered with those members of the community known to be traveling within or from China to administer medical precautions recommended by state officials. We will continue to evaluate areas of risk and update our plan as we go. 

The fact that we are currently in the midst of cold and flu season may increase uncertainty and, as such, it is important for all of us to take reasonable precautions to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including: 
Wash 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.
Stay home when you are sick.
When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

While the likelihood that the coronavirus will impact our campus is low, the College remains prepared to respond and will provide updates to our campus community as needed. 

Sincerely,

Michele C. Murray, Ph.D, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Kelsey DeVoe, Director of Health Services