February 26, 2020
Dear Boston College Students:
As you prepare to leave campus for Spring Break, I write to provide you with information related to the Coronavirus, and potential impacts it could have on those who are planning to travel domestically and internationally during the coming week.
We have been monitoring closely the evolving situation. COVID-19 Coronavirus is now confirmed in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, with the bulk of these cases concentrated in China. Many of these areas have very few reported cases of the virus, and the risk of contracting it in these locations remains very low. However, there are a number of countries where the spread of the virus has increased significantly during the past week, including South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Governments in these affected areas are taking swift and, in some cases, unexpected actions to contain the virus. Their efforts can have significant effects on travelers, including restricted travel, quarantines, and cancelled transportation options.
The U.S. State Department and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued new travel advisories regarding the Coronavirus, as well as specific advisories for South Korea, Italy, Japan, Iran, and Hong Kong. I strongly encourage all students who plan to travel to these areas to check official information about possible impacts from the sources listed below:
- State Department Travel Advisories: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html.html
- CDC Travel Advisories: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- CDC COVID 19 Page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- World Health Organization COVID 19 Page: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
It is important to note there have been no reported cases of the Coronavirus on the BC campus, and only one in the city of Boston. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor the situation and stay in close contact with educational partners abroad, government officials, and colleagues at other institutions. Our Office of International Programs is in regular communication with students studying abroad this semester, and will work with them to adjust their study plans if needed. (UPDATE 2-27-20: Boston College has decided to close the BC in Parma program for the spring 2020 semester.)
Regardless of your travel plans, we always recommend that students embrace the following health safety practices:
- Frequently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Cough or sneeze into a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Do not share drink containers, utensils or other personal use items;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has a fever and cough;
- Do not travel if you are sick. If you have a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, seek medical care.
The health and well-being of the BC community is our top priority. Our Facilities staff continue their efforts to clean common areas on campus with disinfectants, as they do each year during flu season, and our University Health Services staff are available to assist students as needed. You can stay informed of matters related to the Coronavirus by visiting the BC website at bc.edu.
We wish you safe travels, and hope you have an enjoyable, safe and healthy Spring Break.