Distributed May 14, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

President Ruth J. Simmons

A message about SARS and Commencement/Reunion Weekend

Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons has sent the following message about SARS to faculty, students, staff and other members of the University community, including people who may be concerned about travel to campus for the 2003 Commencement-Reunion Weekend, May 23-26, 2003.

May 14, 2003

Dear Member of the Extended Brown Community:

As you know, worldwide efforts to control the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have been an inescapable story in the news this spring.

May is a high-volume travel month for the University community. Thousands of parents and alumni from around the world will make their way to the Brown campus for Commencement/Reunion Weekend. Our students and many faculty will be leaving for summer destinations, and several hundred new students will soon be arriving for summer studies at Brown.

In anticipation of travel, many of you have contacted University offices asking for information about Brown’s policy on SARS management. In all matters related to SARS management, the University is guided by the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control. We highly recommend the CDC’s Web site (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/) for accurate, comprehensive, and timely information about SARS and issues related to SARS. Recognizing that there are new developments concerning SARS almost on a daily basis, we encourage you to bookmark this Web site and refer to it as questions arise.

The University currently has no restrictions in effect that would prevent travel to campus. We do, however, ask all members of the campus community and all guests of the University to be informed about SARS, to be observant of their own health, and to be considerate of the campus health whenever they experience symptoms of any illness. A viral respiratory illness spread through close personal contact via droplet transmission (coughing, sneezing), SARS will be a concern whenever large groups gather. Persons who have symptoms associated with SARS or other contagious diseases should avoid close contact with others.

Following CDC guidelines, if you or your guests have been in a designated SARS area (CDC currently designates Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Hanoi, Toronto, and Taiwan as areas of concern) within 10 days of a planned visit to Brown and if you have a fever or respiratory problem, you should postpone your visit until at least 10 days after your symptoms have cleared. If you have had close contact with someone who was ill with SARS, you should postpone your visit until you have been free of symptoms for 10 days.

Anyone who has been in a designated SARS area during the previous 10 days and develops fever or respiratory symptoms while on the Brown campus should telephone University Health Services (401-863-1330) or a primary care provider immediately and tell the person on duty the reason for the call. The Health Services staff will provide further instructions. You are also encouraged to call this number if you have any questions pertaining to this advisory notice.

Graduating seniors are asked to share this information with their families and friends who may be coming to campus to participate in the graduation events at the end of the month. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in protecting the campus community from the real risks SARS poses.

Here on campus, our thoughts are turning toward Brown’s 235th Commencement. We look forward to welcoming parents, alumni, and guests to the weekend’s activities. To those of you who are preparing to leave campus, we extend our best wishes for a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer.

Ruth J. Simmons