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Office of Global Engagement

Update on Ebola Plans and Policies

October 21, 2014

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

Brown University continues to monitor reports regarding the Ebola virus in areas of West Africa, the United States, and Europe, and is taking steps to protect members of our community. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a Level 3 travel warning in place urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.  To date, there have been no cases of Ebola in Rhode Island, and we believe members of our community are at very low risk of contracting this disease. Still, it is essential for the University to have and communicate clear protocols on travel and health in response to Ebola. Details of these protocols follow. 

University-sponsored travel

Balancing Brown’s education, research and service mission with our responsibility to protect our community from Ebola, the University is restricting University-sponsored student, faculty, and staff travel Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia for any purpose other than to help contain and eliminate the Ebola outbreak. Other countries could be added if the situation changes. We are also urging that non-essential personal travel to affected areas be avoided. 

Undergraduate students are prohibited from travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia for study abroad or other University-sponsored undergraduate activity.

 

Faculty, staff, graduate students, or medical students planning University-sponsored travel to affected countries in West Africa must receive clearance through the Office of the Provost.  Please contact Elizabeth Doherty, senior associate provost, at [email protected] for information about this process.

 

Brown’s International SOS Global Assistance Program provides medical, security, and travel assistance when people are abroad.  Anyone cleared for travel to one of the affected countries is required to register with International SOS. Because the list of countries affected by Ebola may change, all travelers to any country are strongly encouraged to register with International SOS. 

Personal travel to affected countries


The health and safety of the Brown community is a University priority. In accordance with recent guidance from the CDC, we are asking all Brown students, faculty and staff to postpone non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. If you need safety and security advice for travel abroad, please refer to the Brown University Global Assistance Program on the Office of Global Engagement website. Please continue to check advisories for the region as the area at risk for the spread of the Ebola virus might change.

 

If you are planning personal travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia, we ask that you consult with University Health Services prior to traveling and immediately upon your return.  Please contact Dr. Unab Khan, medical director, at [email protected]. 

 

For students who would normally travel to any of these countries for the Thanksgiving or winter break and who would prefer to remain on campus, the University will provide housing and meals.  Please contact Richard Bova, director of residential and dining services, at [email protected] to make arrangements. 

 

For any member of the Brown community who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus

If you recently visited any of the affected countries, you should be aware that the incubation period for Ebola virus disease is 2-21 days, although 8-10 days is most common.  If you have been in Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia in the last three weeks and would like to speak with a health care provider on campus, you may contact University Health Services by phone at 401-863-1330. If you have reason to believe you have been exposed to the Ebola virus please consult with University Health Services before coming to campus.

If you believe you may have been exposed to Ebola and are experiencing symptoms, students should call University Health Services at 401-863-1330; all others should call their doctor immediately.  If you do not have a doctor, call the closest urgent care medical center, emergency room or emergency 911 and let them know you are coming in for medical assistance (or need an ambulance) after potential exposure to Ebola virus.  Always call BEFORE arriving at a medical facility to let them know the nature of your likely exposure, including if you have recently traveled to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, so they will know how best to help you and protect others.

Ebola is a serious disease and is spread through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with the virus. It can also be spread by objects such as needles or syringes that have been contaminated with the virus. More information, including symptoms and tips to prevent transmission, is available at the CDC and University Health Services websites. 

Additional support and involvement 

The impact of the Ebola virus on nations in West Africa has been devastating. Members of the Brown community have been involved in fighting the epidemic in a number of ways, from direct service to those in need to hosting events and activities designed to raise awareness and resources. A summary of these activities is available online, along with resources for members of the Brown community who have been directly affected by this disease and are in need of support.

Brown University, in coordination with the Rhode Island Department of Health and the CDC, will continue to monitor this evolving situation.  We will provide timely updates on the University Health Services and Environmental Health and Safety websites.

Sincerely,

Russell Carey, Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy

Unab Khan, Medical Director, University Health Services

Margaret Klawunn, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services