January 30, 2020
Dear parents and families,
I am writing to share updates from Dr. Cheri LeBlanc, Executive Director of WashU’s Habif Health and Wellness Center on the novel CoronaVirus (2019-nCoV). At present, there are no still cases at Washington University in St. Louis. The university has now issued a travel suspension for mainland China for university-sponsored or supported trips.
During flu season, students will often see people on campus wearing masks. Please be reassured that seeing someone in a mask does not mean they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Yet, all members of our campus community are reminded to take precautions (frequent handwashing, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, avoid touching your eyes) to prevent spread of infectious disease. The precautions will help reduce your risk of many respiratory infections including influenza which is widespread across the nation.
If you have specific questions about the health safety of your student that are not addressed in the email, please feel free to contact my office or our Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Support and Wellness, Dr. Kirk Dougher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lori. S. White
Dear Danforth Campus Community,
We are closely tracking the spread of the new coronavirus, first identified in December in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. At this point, there are no known cases of the virus in St. Louis, but there are cases in the United States and it’s likely there will be more. The situation is changing rapidly, but we will provide updates when new information or guidance needs to be communicated.
Symptoms of this infectious illness include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Based on current information, symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after initial exposure to the disease and can be transmitted from inhaling or touching infected droplets — usually through a cough or sneeze — from an infected person.
Whether or not any symptoms have appeared, if you are a Danforth Campus student or employee who has traveled from China in the past 14 days, we ask that you notify the Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-4129.
Any such students or employees should monitor themselves for fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Anyone with these symptoms should make a follow-up call to the Habif Center or the Barnes-Jewish Hospital emergency room at 314-362-9104 and follow instructions to get evaluated. It’s important to call before showing up at a doctor’s office or emergency room.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University Physicians are working closely with infectious-disease physicians at the medical school and local health departments to screen for any cases. We follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for identifying and managing patients of concern.
During flu season, you will often see people on campus wearing masks. Please be reassured that seeing someone in a mask does not mean they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Again, we currently do not have anyone in our community being investigated for this virus at this time.
As of January 29, 2020, the Washington University International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) Executive Body implemented a travel suspension condition for all travel to mainland China. This is in accordance with the CDC’s Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel health notice for mainland China; the U.S. Department of State’s Level 3 Travel Advisory: Reconsider Travel for mainland China; and the university’s international travel policy. This condition will be re-evaluated when the CDC or Department of State change their level of guidance.
Travel suspension conditions apply to university-sponsored or -supported trips. They do not apply to personal travel. For details on how travel suspension conditions apply to students, faculty, and staff, please see the university’s international travel policy. Remember to register all university-affiliated international travel with the university’s travel registry, MyTrips. Registering your itinerary automatically subscribes you to safety alerts from International SOS, the world’s largest medical and travel security services firm.
Members of our campus community are reminded to take precautions — wash hands often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze; avoid touching your eyes — to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
For further information, please visit the CDC’s website.
Thank you for helping to protect our campus community.
Cheri LeBlanc, MD
Executive Director, Habif Health and Wellness Center
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Washington University in St. Louis