Message from the President
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Message from the President

April 28, 2003

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

I am writing to follow up on a message you received earlier this month from Anita Barkin, Director of Health Services, regarding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). While we are not aware of any immediate risk to members of the campus community, we understand the concerns and questions that SARS has raised. To date, there have been no cases of SARS reported in Allegheny County. Student Health Services continues to seek updates from the Allegheny County Health Department and follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We have had several questions relating to travel to Asia and Canada. At this time we are discouraging non-essential travel to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Toronto, Canada, based on guidelines established by the CDC and WHO. Anyone with university-related travel plans to these areas in the immediate future should seek clearance from the Provost or the Dean of Student Affairs before making his or her trip. We have not yet canceled summer programs planned in some of these locations but will be making that decision within the coming weeks, if further information warrants that measure.

A related question has emerged as to whether the university will be issuing an advisory regarding commencement weekend activities, given the large number of parents and family members traveling to Pittsburgh from throughout the world. At this point, we feel confident that this should not be a concern given the screening procedures currently being utilized in affected areas. While we do not believe that there is an inherent risk in participating in commencement activities, we understand that each community member needs to make a personal choice regarding his or her participation in the events that will be offered.

Finally, University Housing will be making every effort to secure housing for students who are from the affected areas who would like to alter their plans and stay in Pittsburgh this summer.

Health care providers from Student Health Services are available for consultation during regular office hours and will be offering first aid and consultation services during commencement weekend. I would also encourage you to visit the CDC website for detailed information about the infection and the latest recommendations for travel at If you have questions or concerns regarding the above, please feel free to contact Anita Barkin (x8-2158), Michael Murphy (x8-2075) or me directly (x8-2200).


Jared L. Cohon

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