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Updated Novel Coronavirus information

Jan. 30, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As much of the world’s attention is on the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, we here at Johns Hopkins continue to closely monitor developments and address your questions as efficiently as possible.

First and foremost, there have been no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV at Johns Hopkins University or in the state of Maryland. The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that he has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for 2019-nCoV, an acknowledgement of the risk the virus poses to countries beyond its origin in China and of the need for a more coordinated international response to the outbreak. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO continue to indicate that the general risk of exposure to 2019-nCoV is very low.

We are continuing to update information and collect resources on the Hub. We also encourage anyone feeling anxiety or stress to access university mental health resources. Students can find those resources at wellness.jhu.edu or get in contact with their school’s student affairs office. Staff can use the mySupport program.

Below you will find several updates, including our current approach to screening, travel, use of masks, and university activities. Contact information is included for our health resources. If you have additional questions that do not relate to your personal health, please email CEPAR@jhmi.edu.

We continue to follow the CDC and WHO’s guidance on screening and travel:

SCREENING

Faculty, staff, and students who have traveled to or from China do not need to be quarantined upon arrival in the U.S., but should monitor themselves for 14 days following arrival and promptly report any symptoms.

If you have been in China in the last 14 days and have symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should limit contact with others until we can determine the best way to evaluate and treat you safely. Do not go in person to the Student Health and Wellness Center or University Health Services for assessment. Instead, call our providers for an initial phone screening.

Students (full or part-time) affiliated with the following schools should contact the Homewood Student Health and Wellness Center at 410-516-5709:

  • Carey Business School
  • Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (including Advanced Academic Programs)
  • Peabody Institute
  • School of Advanced International Studies
  • School of Education
  • Whiting School of Engineering (including Engineering for Professionals)

Students (full or part-time) affiliated with the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health should contact University Health Services at 410-955-3250. After hours, you may enter a callback number at 410-283-3855.

Employees (faculty and staff) should contact Occupational Health Services:

  • Between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., call 410-955-6211
  • Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., call Centrex on the East Baltimore Campus at 410-955-5000 and ask for the Occupational Health Nurse on-call.

In order to manage the volume of calls, we encourage you to seek screening at this time only if you have symptoms and have been to China in the past 14 days. If an individual does show symptoms of the coronavirus, the university will follow a protocol to assist the individual and will notify any other students who are known to have had contact with them.

TRAVEL

We recognize the concern around the ability to travel to and from China due to government guidance and changes in airline operations. We are also aware that these restrictions may be impacting visits from prospective students, business associates and guests to our campuses.

Both the U.S. Department of State and the CDC have issued travel advisories to reconsider and avoid non-essential travel to any location in China. The U.S. State Department has issued a warning not to travel to Wuhan, China, where the novel virus originated. In addition, 20 airports in the United States are screening travelers inbound from China, including Washington Dulles Airport.

Please consider these factors as they relate to potential travel and consult with your department/division leadership as needed.

USE OF MASKS

The university is not providing masks and has not issued guidance encouraging people to wear them. A mask is not required or recommended, as there is no evidence available to suggest that they protect non-sick persons. This aligns with current CDC and WHO guidance. Students, staff, and faculty may use their discretion to obtain and wear masks if they choose.

UNIVERSITY CLASSES AND ACTIVITIES

University classes and activities will continue to take place as scheduled (with the exception of those in China). Questions related to impacts to specific programs, meetings, conferences, etc. should be directed to the leadership of your school or department.

Because this is already the season for flu and other viruses, we ask all students, faculty, and staff who have illness accompanied by fever—regardless of their travels—to refrain from going to classes, labs, dining halls, offices, and other places where they could spread illness among others. To limit spread, we ask that a person have a normal temperature for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) before resuming a regular schedule.

The university asks faculty to be flexible in allowing students to make these decisions without necessarily visiting a medical practitioner for documentation of their illness. Staff should follow the normal procedures for sick time away from work; please notify your supervisor, and follow the university’s sick leave policy.

Other advice to avoid the spread of viruses includes:

  • Get a seasonal flu vaccination, even if you are not required to do so.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water (washing for a full minute) or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand washing is crucial, particularly before eating or any activity that involves touching your face.
  • Cough into your sleeve (the crook of your elbow) or a tissue, not into your hands.
  • Stay home if you have a fever until you are fever-free for 24 hours without any medication.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation warrants.

Sincerely,

Kevin Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being

Heidi Conway
Vice President for Human Resources

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