Dr. LeBlanc provides an update on the university’s planning around COVID-19, previously referred to as the novel coronavirus.
To the George Washington University Community:
In recent weeks, the university has been closely monitoring the evolving public health situation related to the respiratory virus COVID-19, initially called the novel coronavirus.
Currently and thankfully, there are no COVID-19 cases with a connection to GW. Still, with an increasing number of cases around the world and many confirmed in the United States, I want to assure you that the university is taking all necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
We are fortunate to have on our campuses some of the most experienced and dedicated public health, medical and safety professionals in the country. A robust task force of these individuals—in collaboration with those representing the needs of our students, faculty and staff—is meeting daily to provide recommendations and resources based on the best available science and information, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.
This group will meet indefinitely and provide frequent updates to me, members of my leadership team and the entire GW community. Soon we will have a website exclusively for COVID-19 resources that is continually updated with campus health precautions and travel advisories. For now, current information can be found on Campus Advisories.
As of this week, GW community members returning from CDC-designated Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) countries, which comprise China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, will be required to self-isolate off campus for 14 days. The university is communicating directly with, and providing assistance to, these community members, including students returning from study abroad in Italy and South Korea. Additionally, with spring break approaching, those planning personal travel to any international destination should anticipate possible constraints when reentering the U.S. and returning to campus.
Despite even the best efforts to prepare and protect, public health concerns such as COVID-19 present inherent uncertainty. As conditions evolve, we will provide you with the most comprehensive information and guidance possible and deploy any additional resources necessary.
I understand that this may be a difficult time for some in our community, but please know that your safety is our top priority. I also ask that you check in on friends and colleagues. We all need to look out for one another during stressful times.