December 18, 2014

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

We are writing to remind the community of the protocols in place since October 2014 regarding the outbreak of the Ebola virus in areas of West Africa and other countries.  Brown University continues to monitor the situation and is taking steps to protect members of our community. The travel warnings issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remain at Level 3, urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and at Level 2 for Mali. 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. 

University-sponsored travel

As we balance 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 to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali, 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, Liberia, or Mali 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 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, Liberia, and Mali. 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, Liberia, or Mali, 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 winter break and who would prefer to remain on campus, the University may be able to provide some assistance with housing and meals.  Please contact Richard Bova, director of residential and dining services, at[email protected] to make arrangements. 

Community members who are planning international travel should be aware of the precautions that have been put in place in airports to help contain the spread of Ebola.  These precautions include enhanced entry screening by the CDC and Customs and Border Protection for travelers who have traveled from or through Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.  Travelers will also be monitored for symptoms for 21 days by the Rhode Island Department of Health.  For more information about travel, please refer to the CDC website.

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

If you visited any of the affected countries since November 1, 2014, please 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 any of the affected countries, so they will know how best to help you and protect others.

Ebola is a serious disease that 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.  We anticipate that efforts by students, faculty and staff to raise awareness and funds will continue in the spring.

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 BrownReady websites.


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