Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,
We are writing today to provide an update regarding the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which we are monitoring closely. More than 4,500 cases of the virus have been reported globally, with over 100 deaths. While there have been no reported cases with any connection to Georgetown, the university is taking proactive steps to ensure the safety and health of our community out of an abundance of caution, since there is still much about the situation that is unknown.
Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its travel guidance to recommend that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, and the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory level to “reconsider travel” to China. In light of this, and for the safety and wellbeing of our community, Georgetown University is issuing a temporary moratorium on all university-sponsored and university-related travel for students, faculty and staff to China, effective immediately. The university will be in contact with those students, faculty and staff scheduled for imminent travel to the country—including students planning to leave soon to study in China for the coming semester—and will work to help coordinate appropriate alternate plans.
We are also in contact with Georgetown community members currently in China to request that they make immediate arrangements to travel home or return to Georgetown University, as appropriate. Students will receive information from university officials about resources that will enable them to ensure academic continuity and to secure ground transportation, alternate short-term lodging as needed and new flights home.
Georgetown will continue to monitor the situation and be in regular touch with these students to assist them in coordinating and completing the remainder of their academic coursework. While we recognize that this decision will be a disappointment to those currently studying or planning to study in China this semester, it was made in the interest of the health and wellbeing of our community.
It is important that all travelers adhere to these procedures in order to protect the health and safety of our campus community. If a faculty or staff member believes there is a compelling university-related reason for travel to China, they should consult with the Office of the Provost or campus executive vice president (for Medical and Law Centers) or senior vice president and chief operating officer (for staff of University Services), to request an exception allowing for such travel. If you are planning personal travel, we highly recommend that you abide by U.S. government guidance and please be mindful of potential associated risk of disruptions to your return.
As was shared with the university community on Friday, January 24, we urge all members of the university community to be aware of the virus’s symptoms and ways to prevent the further spread of illness. You can find answers to frequently asked questions, including symptoms, travel information and other resources on the Georgetown University website.
As a global institution, Georgetown is deeply committed to our international community and partnerships abroad. We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution, but remain steadfast in our values as a community that welcomes people of different cultures and advances the common good through research, teaching and outreach around critical global issues.
We encourage anyone who might need support to reach out to university resources, including the Office of Campus Ministry, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) and Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP). We know that we have many members of our community who may have friends and family members impacted by the virus.
We thank you for your vigilance and cooperation in ensuring the health and safety of our community.
Robert M. Groves, Provost
Edward B. Healton, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences & Executive Dean of the School of Medicine
William M. Treanor, Executive Vice President & Dean of the Law Center
Geoff Chatas, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer