Carnegie Mellon University
February 02, 2020

Coronavirus Update, Travel Restrictions

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community,

We are writing to inform you that late Friday, the U.S. State Department elevated its China travel advisory to level 4, requesting individuals not travel to China due to the rapidly evolving situation pertaining to the new coronavirus. Also, the Administration declared a public health emergency barring entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals who are traveling from China. In addition, U.S. citizens who have been in China's Hubei Province in the past 14 days will be subject to mandatory quarantine (a formal restriction by the U.S. Government that will last 14 days) if they travel back to the United States. The new restrictions begin this afternoon, Sunday, February 2.

Based on these updates, we are restricting all CMU students, faculty and staff from traveling to China on official university business, effective immediately. The university will actively monitor guidance from the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the intention of removing restrictions as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. This restriction applies only to those traveling to China for university purposes. However, we strongly recommend that those who are planning travel to China for personal reasons reconsider such plans.

We encourage you to visit CMU’s Travel Risk Information Program website for travel advisory updates. Additionally, updates about the coronavirus are available 24/7 on the CDC website.

CMU continues to monitor this health situation and is in close contact with the Allegheny County Health Department on its guidance concerning the coronavirus for our region. To be clear, at this time there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at CMU, in Pittsburgh or in Pennsylvania. 

Out of an abundance of caution, the university is asking anyone who has traveled to China within the last 14 days to immediately self-isolate (each individual will personally be responsible to stay at home and out of public interaction) before coming to campus. Our current information indicates that there are very few individuals who will need to self-isolate. These precautions are inclusive of all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms.

Those who are asked to self-isolate should remain in isolation for 14 days since they were last in China. Self-isolation means you should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people. This also means that members of the university community who have been to China within the last 14 days should not attend class, worksites, laboratories, study groups, or other events and activities on- or off-campus until that 14 day period following departure from China has ended and they are symptom-free.

Students who live in University Housing will be provided space on campus to self-isolate and will be supported by Student Affairs. Any student who is impacted will be provided academic accommodations and support.

Our community’s health and wellness are our top priority. Any student with fever and cough who has been to China within the last 14 days should report to, or call University Health Services at 412-268-2157 immediately for a consultation. If you are a faculty or staff member who has been to China within the last 14 days and are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your primary care provider immediately for guidance.

For any questions about the university’s expectations and to notify the University of your Self-isolation (student, faculty or staff), please contact Maureen Dasey-Morales, associate vice president for community health and well-being. We ask that any university community member who is self-isolating notify the university so we can provide support during your time away from campus. Your personal information will be treated sensitively and with appropriate confidentiality.

Faculty and staff members who have traveled to China, and are subject to an associated self-isolation, should contact their supervisors or department head to establish a remote working arrangement for the duration of the isolation. For additional information and help, faculty, staff and supervisors may consult the Leaves Administrator in the Benefits Unit of the Office of Human Resources.

If you are planning to host visitors from impacted regions in the coming weeks and months, we strongly suggest you consider rescheduling to a later date and discuss your decision with your supervisors or department heads immediately. If you have questions or need advice about how to proceed, please contact CMU’s Enterprise Risk Management at drbc@andrew.cmu.edu.

This is a difficult time for some in our community, and our hearts go out to all those who have been affected, directly and indirectly. We need to support those who may be going through a period of high stress. Let’s be thoughtful and caring and support one another in fostering a healthy university community for all.

Sincerely,

James H. Garrett Jr., Provost
Gina Casalegno, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs