March 17, 2020
I hope all of you have made your way home safely from study abroad, or are in the process of doing so. If you have difficulties with your return, please be in touch with your OIP advisor. You should have recently received a message from your advisor with updates on credits and refunds for your specific country/location.
I write to also let you know that we have received a report from Dr. Tom Nary, director of BC’s University Health Services, of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among BC students who studied abroad this semester in the United Kingdom and Ireland respectively, and two presumptive cases among students studying in Madrid.
The two confirmed cases involve individuals who returned directly home from Europe and were tested by their local health authorities. They are self-isolating and receiving care.
We ask all students who studied abroad to avoid speculation and respect the students’ privacy so they can focus on making a full recovery.
In accordance with standard public health procedures, local departments of public health will engage in contact tracing to notify individuals who were in close contact with the two confirmed students. If you are not notified by health authorities, then you are not considered to have had an increased risk of exposure to them.
At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that students who studied in level-3 countries should self-quarantine for two weeks and monitor their health. If symptoms emerge (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), you should contact your health care provider for further guidance.
All students are urged to practice social distancing and to follow established guidelines recommended by the CDC:
- Avoid contact with sick individuals
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then discard it in the trash.
I realize that these past few weeks have been difficult for you. You were uprooted from an exciting and joyful study-abroad experience and have returned home to a nation that is experiencing its greatest public health challenge in a century. I am thinking of you, and am here to support you. Feel free to contact me or the staff in OIP if you have questions or concerns.
In the meantime, take care of yourself and continue to look after one another. We will, no doubt, get through these trying times together.
Nick J. Gozik, Ph.D.
Director, Office of International Programs