Guidance on spread of COVID-19 and potential that it impacts our community – February 29, 2020

Dear FSU Community,

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, I am writing to assure you that we are closely monitoring the outbreak and have been in regular contact with government and public health agencies, as well as our fellow Massachusetts state universities.

As of this moment, there is a low risk for cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Massachusetts, with only one confirmed case, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Having said that, we recognize the uncertainty of this situation as the spread of coronavirus continues to change daily. We have also been in direct contact with all of our students studying abroad and continue to monitor their individual situations.

Members of the University’s Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) will be meeting this week to review our emergency procedures so that we are ready should an outbreak occur in our region. We will also be back in touch with you on Monday, March 2, with an update on Spring Break travel and how it may be impacted by the virus.

In the meantime, let’s all remember to be diligent about practicing good hygiene, which not only can help protect us from the coronavirus, but also from the seasonal flu, which remains a greater threat in our area at this time. The following recommendations are from the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

On the front page of the University’s Health Center website there is a Health Alert section with links to CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health websites, which have up to date coronavirus information.

Javier Cevallos, Ph.D.