Message on Coronavirus Prevention from Provost Mary Ann Rankin

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The following message on Coronavirus prevention with updates was sent to the university community on January 29, 2020


Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Information about the outbreak of novel coronavirus in China, its spread to the U.S., and other areas of the world is evolving rapidly. University leaders and the University Health Center are closely monitoring the situation and taking actions aimed at keeping our community safe and healthy. I know many of you, particularly those with programmatic or personal connections to China, have been deeply concerned about this situation, and I offer our empathy and support to those affected. I write to give you all an update of our actions and outcomes to date.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Maryland or in the State of Maryland. We will communicate with the campus immediately if this situation changes.

Yesterday, the CDC raised the level of its travel advisory to include all of China, recommending no nonessential travel to China at this time. Until further notice, the university is not authorizing travel to China, and we are suspending Education Abroad programming in China for undergraduates for spring 2020.

We are continuing the effort that started last week to perform additional cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and restrooms throughout the campus.

Today, we are launching a new web page, umd.edu/virusinfo. This page will serve as the primary source of information about virus prevention, guidelines for absences from campus, FAQs and links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health resources. It also includes current information about the university’s actions and responses to coronavirus. We will continue to add and update FAQs as the coronavirus situation evolves. We urge everyone with questions or concerns to visit the site.

Finally, it is imperative that we all do our part to reduce the danger of infection by observing best practices for preventing incidences of the flu and other illnesses within our community. I want to remind everyone that our University Health Center always strongly recommends that anyone who is ill or thinks they may be ill should stay home from class and from work and seek medical care, as necessary. This advice applies to everyone, every year, as well as to anyone who suspects exposure to coronavirus. The flu season is at its peak right now, and this alone would warrant such a directive. Indeed, anyone who has not received a flu vaccine this season should consider doing so immediately. Flu shots are available at the UHC.
Faculty are being provided guidance today on ways to accommodate students who may need to temporarily complete assignments remotely. You will also see tips for the prevention of spreading the flu, cold and other viruses posted around campus and on social media. In addition, you may notice some individuals wearing a surgical mask to protect against infection. This does not suggest illness or presence of infection. Rather, it is simply a routine preventive practice for some.

We continue to consult with coronavirus experts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, but we are no longer testing for coronavirus infection through UMB. All testing will be coordinated through the CDC, and the local and state health departments. If you suspect that you have been exposed and are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) report immediately to the nearest hospital emergency department or the University Health Center. If possible, call ahead to alert the facility of your symptoms and why you suspect exposure to coronavirus. When you arrive at the facility, notify personnel immediately of your symptoms and suspected exposure.

We will continue to provide updates at umd.edu/virusinfo as we receive them from health officials, and we encourage you to email healthconcerns@umd.edu if you have questions specific to coronavirus. We are committed to providing information and support in this rapidly evolving situation.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

 

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Health