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January 31, 2020

Jan. 31, 2020

Dear Holy Cross Community:

We wanted to send you an update regarding our efforts to monitor and respond to concerns related to the novel coronavirus.

Yesterday, 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.” 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 those medical precautions recommended by state officials. We reached out to our students studying abroad in China and all our students are scheduled to return home by Sunday. We will continue to evaluate areas of risk and update our plan as we go. 

Meanwhile, we ask any members of our community who have recently traveled to China, or who may be exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, to contact their health care providers as soon as possible and then notify Health Services so we may engage with them on the best way to protect themselves and the broader community. 

The fact that we are currently in the midst of cold and flu season may increase uncertainty and, as such, is an important time to remind you 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, we remain prepared to respond as needed and will provide updates to our campus community as needed. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,


Kelsey DeVoe, Director of Health Services
Denielle Burl, Emergency Management Coordinator