Week of January 27, 2020

DICKINSON IN CHINA SUSPENDED FOR SPRING 2020

Sent: January 28, 2020 4:38 PM

Dear Dickinson students,

Guided by recommendations from International SOS, The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of State (U.S. DOS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dickinson College has been closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

As of January 27, the CDC has issued a Level 3 - Avoid Nonessential Travel notice for all of China, the U.S. DOS has issued a Level 3 – Reconsider Travel advisory for all of China, and International SOS lists the medical risk rating for China as “High.” As a result, and in the interest of the health, safety and security of the Dickinson community traveling or preparing to travel abroad, Dickinson will be suspending the Dickinson in China program for the spring 2020 semester.

Dickinson is committed to working with all travelers to find an alternative solution to meeting academic objectives impacted by this decision, but your health and safety are of utmost importance and we ask that you prioritize compliance with this difficult but necessary decision. We have spoken with both the registrar and the associate dean of students and they have indicated that adjustments can be made so that you can to return to Dickinson for this current semester, despite being over a week into classes. There is housing available and professors will be asked to give students special consideration for both getting into classes and making up work given the circumstances.

However, in order to return to campus, it is imperative that you return to Carlisle as soon as you are able, preferably by Friday of this week or at the absolute latest, Friday, February 7th. As soon as you respond to this email, we can work together to transition you back to campus.

At this time:

  • All students currently in China are asked to depart China as soon as possible. If you already have a return flight, we suggest calling the airline to discuss a flight change as a first step. CGSE will work with each of you as needed to assist in your safe and responsible departure. 
  • All students currently in China are asked to provide a status update to global@dickinson.edu by Jan. 30, 2020, at 10 p.m. EST (9 a.m. CST) addressing your well-being and your plans regarding your travel in China.
  • While traveling, stay informed about the outbreak and the precautions to take, and closely monitor the situation as it is evolving daily.
  • All impending student travel to China is prohibited.  This stop on all student Dickinson travel to China will remain in effect until further notice.

As always, please don’t hesitate to call our travel assistance provider, International SOS, for any questions regarding the situation, medical referrals or advice on necessary precautions.

Sincerely,

Katie DeGuzman
Dean and Director, Education Abroad
Center for Global Study and Engagement


FLU UPDATE

SENT: January 28th, 2020

Members of the Dickinson Community:

An important and necessary part of the college’s preparation for the spring semester includes precautionary planning in case there is a flu outbreak on campus. Dickinson believes unequivocally in advance planning for any possible challenge to our community. This message is meant to provide you with the most current information available regarding the college’s plans to address the possibility of influenza-like illness on campus. The Dickinson College Wellness Center has treated several students for influenza-like illness so far this semester, and according to the CDC Pennsylvania is currently reporting a high level of widespread influenza-like illness, which is expected to continue for at least several more weeks. Weekly influenza updates and CDC recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov

Additionally, as you are likely aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are monitoring an outbreak of a respiratory illness termed “2019-nCoV.” The new virus is a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold and was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and continues to expand. The Wellness Center has been following all CDC guidelines regarding this virus and receiving up to date alerts about best practices from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Dickinson’s Response Plan

Flu Response Team

Dickinson has a Flu Response Team that meets as needed to monitor and manage influenza-like illness on campus. Team members include representatives from all areas of the college who have a role in responding to an outbreak of the flu—from individuals in our Wellness Center to housekeeping and food service. Our efforts are intended to address comprehensively the issues that may arise and to make adjustments as necessary due to new information or guidance.

Promote Vaccination

Receiving a seasonal flu vaccination is the most effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu—particularly if you are in a high-risk category. If you believe you are in such a category or are uncertain as to whether you can receive the flu vaccine, you should consult with a health care provider. Students should call or stop by Health Services at the Wellness Center to schedule an appointment for a flu vaccination, whereas faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider. The flu vaccine also can be administered at a participating pharmacy. Flu vaccinations are covered by the Dickinson College Student Health Insurance as well as most other insurance companies. Aetna covers flu shots for employees.

Symptoms of the Flu

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting. According to the CDC, in most cases you should stay home, rest and try to avoid contact with other people. In addition, you should seek medical assistance immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough. If you are in a high-risk group and get the flu, you should consult with your primary care provider for medical advice. For more information, please consult the CDC’s recommendations for what to do if you have the flu: www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm

Traveling

The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China at this time. In addition, if you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, the CDC recommends taking the following steps to protect yourself and others:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you visit the Dickinson Wellness Center, a doctor’s office or an emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Returning to Work/Class

Should you begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms, please remain in your residential space until you are fever-free (without the use of medications that reduce fever) for a minimum of 24 hours.

Students may request “sick meals” from Dining Services. Please see www.dickinson.edu/info/20205/campus_dining/2636/dietary_and_allergen_information/2 for additional information.

Promote Good Hygiene

Good hygiene habits will significantly reduce the spread of any influenza-like illness as well as the 2019-nCoV. Information on good hygiene habits is included at the end of this message.

Environmental Conditions

One way the flu spreads is by a person touching an inanimate object that hosts the virus, such as a doorknob, and then touching his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on a surface for between two and eight hours. During that period, sufficient heat, germicides, detergents and alcohols are effective in killing the influenza virus when used correctly. Our housekeeping and facilities staff have reviewed the college’s cleaning practices and disinfectants used in common spaces as well as residence halls. We are pleased to report that Dickinson meets the standards recommended by the CDC.

Good Hygiene Habits

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Rub hand sanitizer into your hands until dry.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Use tissues one time only. Put used tissues in a wastebasket immediately after use, and wash hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue.
  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay at least six feet away from anyone you suspect is sick.
  • Eat a balanced diet, and drink lots of water.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Sincerely,

George Stroud
Vice President and Dean of Student Life

Published January 28, 2020