Week of March 2, 2020

MESSAGE FROM DICKINSON COLLEGE TO STUDY ABROAD STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

Sent: March 6

Dear students and families,
 
We are reaching out to you to remind you to follow the latest updates from Dickinson on the coronavirus website:   https://www.dickinson.edu/info/20051/global_study_and_engagement/3976/dickinson_college_updates_on_the_coronavirus

In President Ensign's March 2nd email, she outlines the criteria for a program suspension:

As we navigate through this situation, we continue to be guided by advice from the CDC, the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. When the following criteria have been met, we have suspended our programs:

  • An elevation in the CDC alert level to a 3 (“avoid non-essential travel” recommendation) for the host country;
  • An elevation in the U.S. State Department advisory level for the country to a 3 (“reconsider travel” status);
  • The host country, U.S. government or institution recommends evacuation or immediate departure for foreign visitors or U.S. citizens.

We want to assure you that in addition to our emergency staff team meeting on campus daily, we are also in touch daily with our staff at our sites abroad or getting updates from our partner programs.  What they are stressing to us is that life goes on and feels very normal in all of our program locations.  We are also developing contingency plans for how students at our sites would complete academic work were we to suspend their program.  As we have already had to suspend programs and bring students home, we know we have the capacity to do so at our other sites abroad were it to become necessary.  Dickinson has 50+ years of experience in supporting students who are studying abroad and we have an excellent team all over the world and in Carlisle who are monitoring the situation and doing contingency planning.  Should things change, we will be ready to respond to the changes and communicate to our community about our plans. 

The CGSE team is in the office all next week if such questions or concerns arise.

Best regards,
Katie DeGuzman


CAMPUS UPDATE

Sent: March 6

To the Dickinson community:

We continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and are meeting regularly to review state, national and international guidance.

Today, we learned that the first two cases of coronavirus had been detected in eastern Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf announced this morning that two people in the state—one in Delaware County and one in Wayne County—have tested positive for coronavirus. Results of these tests, conducted at a state lab, must be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Also the Pennsylvania Department of Health has asked anyone in the state who has returned from Italy or South Korea to call 1-877-PA-Health (1-877-724-3258) to let the health department know about your travel. The health department is asking those individuals to practice social distancing and monitor symptoms. If you are a member of our community and have been to Italy or South Korea, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Individuals who have traveled through airports in those countries without leaving the airport do not have to practice social distancing but should still call the department of health at 1-877-724-3258 so that officials are aware of your recent travel.

As we navigate the challenges ahead, we must remain supportive and welcoming toward all community members, including those who were born in, lived in or traveled to the areas of the world most affected by this global issue. Please consult the CDC website that encourages people to share facts to reduce stigma around this virus.

Throughout spring break, check your email as we will continue to update you regularly. You may also keep up to date on campus communications at our coronavirus page.

Thank you for your support and flexibility.

Sincerely,

Margee M. Ensign
President


CAMPUS UPDATE

Sent: March 5

To the Dickinson community:

The emergency response team continues to meet daily to monitor the recommendations from state, federal and international health organizations.

As spring break begins, please remember the following:

  • We highly recommend that no member of the Dickinson community travel to Italy, China or South Korea, or other countries with a Level 3 travel warning from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State. If you do travel to these countries over break, when you return you must stay at home for 14 days and monitor your symptoms before returning to campus, based on new CDC recommendations issued on Wednesday. If you have recently traveled to any of these countries, do not come to campus until you have been at home for 14 days, symptom-free.
  • Students who returned recently from study-abroad programs in Italy should report to campus on March 15. Based on CDC guidelines issued yesterday, those students should be staying at home and monitoring symptoms.
  • If you have travel plans over spring break, remember that this situation is changing rapidly, and you should be monitoring travel advisories closely. Keep in mind that some countries and regions may impose entry or exit restrictions and even quarantines with little advance warning. Airlines may cancel flights or change schedules abruptly. If you travel to an area that becomes categorized as a Level 3 area, you will be asked to stay at home for 14 days before returning to campus.
  • Anyone planning to travel internationally over spring break should consider registering for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program allows U.S. citizens to receive important information from the U.S. Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country and allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.

Employees

  • If a college employee is traveling for the college and is unable to come back to campus as scheduled, either because of an area being quarantined or because of a requirement to monitor symptoms at home for 14 days, you will need to work with your supervisor. We will ask that you work from home if possible. If remote work is not possible, employees will still be paid and the time will be considered an extension of the business travel. For questions, please contact Human Resource Services at 717-245-1503.
  • An employee who is traveling for a personal trip and is unable to return to campus at the expected time, either because of a quarantine in the area where they have been traveling or the 14-day stay-at-home period, will trigger paid leave. Please contact your supervisor as soon as you know about the change to your situation. For questions, please contact HR Services at 717-245-1503.
  • If you become sick, we encourage you to contact your health care provider. If you experience a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms, please also contact your supervisor and stay home.

Students

  • All students traveling during spring break, including those who are in study-abroad programs and traveling during their travel breaks or independently, should keep in mind that regions and countries may impose entry or exit restrictions and even quarantines with little advance warning. If you are traveling and are unable to get back to campus, either because of a quarantine or a required 14-day period at home, please contact Student Life at 717-245-1639. Study-abroad students should call the Center for Global Study & Engagement at 717-245-1341 or, during non-business hours, the Department of Public Safety at 717-245-1349. We also remind study-abroad students to inform their onsite program staff of their travel plans.

Actions You Can Take

  • Because it is flu season, the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine.
  • Wash hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm and use disposable tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • More information is available at the CDC website. Keep up to date with campus communications at our coronavirus page.

Community Response

We have asked all departments across the college to review their business continuity plans, paying special attention to how departments could continue to function with significant personnel absences, as well as how they could fulfill essential functions if staff were required to work from home. While this planning is precautionary, it is always important to be sure that our business continuity plans are up to date.

As we continue to navigate this changing situation, it is important that we remain supportive and welcoming toward all community members, including those who were born in, lived in or traveled to the areas of the world most affected by this global issue. Discrimination has no place here. The CDC has created a website encouraging people to share facts to reduce stigma around this virus.

Dickinson has long been a leader in global education, and we remain committed to the value of international study and the importance of intercultural education. This situation does not change that.

We will continue to update you throughout spring break. As we navigate this challenging situation, we are guided by recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the CDC, the U.S. Department of State and the World Health Organization.

We know this situation is causing anxiety for many, and our thoughts are with members of our community who have been impacted in some way.

Thank you for your attention and your flexibility.

Sincerely,

Margee M. Ensign
President


CAMPUS UPDATE

Sent: March 4

To the Dickinson community:

Our emergency response team continues to meet daily to monitor the recommendations from state, federal and international organizations. We continue to follow the guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State and the World Health Organization.

Guidance from the CDC, issued today, states that anyone who has traveled to a country with a Level 3 travel warning related to coronavirus should stay home for 14 days, during which you should monitor your health, including taking your temperature twice a day and watching for symptoms.

We ask that anyone who has traveled to Italy, China or South Korea remain at home for 14 days prior to returning to campus. We also recommend that you do not travel to those countries over spring break because after your return you will be required to stay home for the 14-day period. Students from our Bologna program will have satisfied the 14-day requirement on March 15.

We understand this situation has had a global impact, and we know our international students have unique challenges. Please know that these issues are part of our consideration as well.

As we continue to work on behalf of our community, it is important that we remain supportive and welcoming towards all of our members, including those who were born in, lived in, or traveled to the areas of the world most affected by this global issue. Discrimination has no place here.

We will continue to update you regularly, including over spring break.

Sincerely,

Margee M. Ensign
President


CAMPUS UPDATE

Sent: March 2

To the Dickinson community:

We continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus as we learn of new cases occurring throughout the globe and within the United States. My thoughts are with all those impacted by this illness, as well as the health officials working to contain its spread.

As a truly global campus with international students and faculty as well as students studying around the world, we have been constantly meeting about and monitoring the issue so that we can make the best decisions possible for our community. As we mentioned in an email Friday night, we suspended our Bologna program for this semester because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State both raised the warning level on travel to Italy. When those students who had been studying in Bologna return to campus after spring break, they will have been out of Italy for 14 days. Any student who is symptomatic is asked not to return to campus until they are symptom-free.

We have also suspended programs to China and South Korea because the CDC and State Department issued elevated warnings about travel to those areas. The Syracuse University program in Florence and the Temple Rome program have also been suspended, impacting a number of our students.

We highly recommend that no member of the Dickinson community travel to Italy, China or South Korea. If you are traveling to, or have recently traveled to, any of these countries, please follow the CDC’s recommendations for monitoring your health during travel and for 14 days after you leave.

As spring break approaches, we know that many students, faculty and staff may have travel plans. Remember that this situation is changing rapidly, and you should be monitoring travel advisories closely. Keep in mind that some countries may impose entry or exit restrictions and even quarantines with little advance warning. 

As we navigate through this situation, we continue to be guided by advice from the CDC, the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. When the following criteria have been met, we have suspended our programs:

  • An elevation in the CDC alert level to a 3 (“avoid non-essential travel” recommendation) for the host country;
  • An elevation in the U.S. State Department advisory level for the country to a 3 (“reconsider travel” status);
  • The host country, U.S. government or institution recommends evacuation or immediate departure for foreign visitors or U.S. citizens.

The CDC has suggested all higher education institutions consider suspending all study-abroad programs, but they are leaving the decision-making in the hands of colleges and universities. The CDC is not recommending suspending travel for businesses, government employees or tourists. We are reviewing this recommendation for study abroad.

Here are important steps you can take right now:

  • Follow CDC advice and above all, wash your hands properly.
  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • Follow updates from the CDC and WHO.
  • Follow Dickinson updates on our webpage.

We will continue to update you frequently.

Sincerely,

Margee M. Ensign
President