Coronavirus Update and Prevention Measures
Feb. 3, 2020
Dear Bentley Community,
I am writing to share updates on the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Since the virus was found outside Wuhan, China, the Bentley Health Center has been closely monitoring the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) issued information and recommendations to understand the illness and prevent the spread of the virus. The State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for China advising against traveling to the country, and further travel restrictions are now in place for travelers from China to the U.S.
Prior to issuing this updated travel warning, Bentley’s Cronin Office of International Education had been working closely with students planning to study in China to identify alternative study options for the spring semester. The office continues to be in close communication with all international partners and affiliates for local updates on conditions where Bentley students study and regularly monitors the CDC, World Health Organization and U.S. Department of State recommendations.
Additionally, the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have implemented screening measures to detect if travelers have risk factors for the virus, including recent travel to affected areas, or symptoms of fevers, cough or difficulty breathing. The CDC has also provided guidelines for any individual traveling from China, which can be found here.
As we monitor all updates on the virus, we ask any students, faculty or staff who have traveled to China within the past 14 days to contact me at the Health Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, students should call our office if they are not feeling well at 781-891-2222 to schedule a phone consultation prior to visiting the center in person. Faculty and staff who feel unwell should follow the same steps with their own healthcare providers.
There has been one reported case of the coronavirus in Massachusetts in a student from the University of Massachusetts Boston. We are monitoring the situation closely and working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for further recommendations. While new outbreaks can raise fears, the same routine precautions used to minimize exposure to seasonal influenza remain the best guidance anywhere in the world. To minimize the risk of infection from any airborne virus, we encourage all members of the community to practice these precautions:
- 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.
- Avoid sharing water bottles, beverages, food or other oral devices to prevent illness.
- Avoid close contact with people displaying flu-like symptoms or illness.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch.
- Get a flu vaccine from your local pharmacy or doctor’s office.
Bentley will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus and advise you further as developments occur. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Health Center.
Thank you for doing your part in keeping our campus healthy.
Anjini Virmani, MD
Associate Dean of Health, Wellness and Counseling
Director, Bentley University Health Center