Drexel Establishes University-wide Plans to Cope with Potential Coronavirus Outbreak
March 2, 2020
The following message was sent to the Drexel community regarding the University’s plans to cope with a potential coronavirus outbreak. For the latest information and updates regarding this evolving situation, visit the Student Health Center website. Updates to travel restrictions can be found on the Office of Global Engagement website.
Dear Students and Colleagues,
As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the United States, I want to assure you that Drexel University is enacting contingency plans to ensure that students, faculty and professional staff are safeguarded, while continuing to provide for learning and research and critical campus functions.
The key steps we have taken so far include:
All University travel to China, South Korea and Italy is restricted unless approved by the provost, and student programs in these countries have been suspended. The University is reviewing the postponement or cancellation of all student foreign exchange programs, as recommended Sunday by the CDC. Information on restrictions and areas of concern can be found on the Office of Global Engagement's Emergency Updates webpage.
The Provost's Office is working with deans, faculty and Drexel IT to assess the feasibility of moving undergraduate and graduate courses online, if necessary.
Student Life is communicating with students about the coronavirus, healthy hygiene measures, and what steps to take when a student feels ill. Housing and Residence Life staff have received additional training, and we have increased resources available from the Student Health Center on campus.
There have been no positive diagnoses of the coronavirus at Drexel, but the University has quarantined a small number of students out of an abundance of caution. This has been done with guidance from the CDC, and in coordination with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Empty rooms and suites in our campus residences have been set aside as student quarantine locations, and we have the infrastructure in place to fully care for these students. We can scale-up these programs if needed.
These steps are being coordinated by the University's Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC), which includes leadership from multiple areas of the campus, including the College of Medicine, School of Public Health, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Student Life, Public Safety, counseling and health, and facilities. The committee likely will expand to include other key areas.
In addition, the Office of Global Engagement is in contact with all students abroad, either through Study Abroad Programs or on international co-ops. We are assisting each of these students with travel, housing, or wrapping up early, as needed. Although some of these students are in their home countries, and others are in countries where travel to the U.S. is restricted, we are doing our best to support them.
As the spring break approaches, I want to urge all members of the campus community to be cautious due to the potential for more cases of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, to be discovered in this country and abroad. If you have concerns about the coronavirus related to any upcoming personal travel, I encourage you to review the information on the Centers for Disease Control website, including destination information and precautions that you can take to help contain the spread of this new virus. If you are traveling abroad, please consider how your trip could affect your ability to return home, given U.S. government restrictions.
Regardless of your spring break plans, it is important to proactively minimize the spread of viruses through good hygiene, including covering your mouth when coughing; covering your nose when sneezing; frequently washing your hands; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home if you are sick; and sanitizing personal spaces. More detailed information on the coronavirus can be accessed on our Student Health website, and a campus-wide website will be announced soon.
Drexel is an inclusive community, with students, faculty and professional staff from all over the world. We must take care not to make assumptions based on perceived symptoms, ethnicity or national origin. We are committed to preserving and maintaining the health and safety of all members of our community. I will provide additional updates as this situation develops. In the meantime, I appreciate your understanding and cooperation in taking to all necessary precautions.