The message below was emailed to the Bryn Mawr College community from President Kim Cassidy on Feb. 6, 2020.
Dear Bryn Mawr College Community:
I am writing today to provide an update on the College’s efforts to protect our community’s health, at home and abroad, as we learn more about novel COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). By sharing updates we hope to provide information and address concerns and questions to the best of our ability, given that this is a rapidly changing situation.
- As of this writing, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus at Bryn Mawr College or in the larger Philadelphia region. At this time, the immediate risk of infection in the U.S. is considered low.
- All community members who have traveled recently to China and who have returned to our campus have passed the critical “two-week” monitoring period identified by the U.S. government.
- There are no students currently studying abroad in China, but many students on campus have connections to friends and family in China. It is important that we support members of our community who may be dealing with the impact of this illness from afar.
- According to the CDC the symptoms of the novel coronavirus include a fever of 100.4 or higher and persistent coughing or shortness of breath. These symptoms can also be indicators of other illnesses. We encourage community members who are experiencing symptoms to reach out to their medical provider or the student Health Center.
- Given that we live and work in a residential community, we encourage community members to take the simple steps recommended by the CDC to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. These steps also reduce the spread of other illnesses. These include washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, wiping touch surfaces frequently and using a tissue or elbow to cover a cough or sneeze. Offices and departments across the College are also working to take available precautions.
- As always, the College advises all community members to follow State Department guidelines regarding travel. At the time of this writing, the State Department has issued a Level 4 Advisory for travel to China. The College does not support travel to countries with a Level 4 travel advisory; therefore there will be no College sponsored travel to China during this Level 4 advisory. Everyone in the U.S., including our community members, must follow U.S.-required travel guidelines and quarantines.
- Given that the status of the coronavirus is changing, travel advisories will be fluid as well. We encourage community members who are planning travel this semester to monitor these advisories and consider purchasing travel insurance.
- Fear can sometimes elicit bias. As always, we ask community members to be sensitive to expressing--or to expressions of---bias. Community members who experience bias are encouraged to report through our bias reporting mechanisms so that we may respond effectively.
We are fortunate to be part of a global community, and we also understand that members of our community are worried. We encourage all members of our community to seek support. The College is also offering several opportunities for students:
- On Thursday, February 6, Patti Lausch will open her 5-8 PM office hours in Pensby to any student who would like to stop by and talk.
- Students are also encouraged to reach out to Nora Woods, the interfaith chaplain, and members of our Counseling Services staff.
- As always, students are encouraged to reach out to deans, professors, and staff of the Pensby Center.
The safety and wellbeing of our community members is of the highest importance. The College will continue to work to support the health of our community and will continue to share information.