We are writing with an update on important new developments in Penn’s response to the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is a fast-evolving situation that is understandably causing high levels of concern.
A University-wide task force has been charged with reviewing—and updating as needed—our existing pandemic planning procedures. It is led by Dr. Benoit Dubé, Chief Wellness Officer, and Michael Fink, Deputy Chief for Tactical and Emergency Readiness of the Penn Police, working with experts across campus and coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government agencies.
Effective immediately, all University-affiliated travel to China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea is suspended in accordance with CDC guidance. We strongly recommend that all members of the Penn community also avoid any personal travel to these countries. If you do travel to any of these countries, we recommend 14 days of self-isolation before returning to campus. Please also register all Penn-related travel so that we will know where you are and can provide resources in case of an emergency.
As spring break approaches, we ask all travelers to weigh the necessity of any upcoming travel and understand the risks involved, even beyond the CDC risk assessment. All international travelers are putting themselves at an increased risk of exposure to coronavirus disease. This potential exposure can be compounded by unexpected delays and cumbersome logistics upon returning to the US, including the potential for missed classes due to self-isolation. We urge all members of the Penn community to consider these risks when deciding whether to move forward with their travel plans.
We have been in close contact with Penn students currently on study abroad programs and are advising them on options to return home. Schools and centers that are planning short-term study abroad or non-credit programs for Spring Break should review these programs and consider postponing or providing alternative activities for students who are not comfortable traveling abroad at this time.
We appreciate the help of every member of the Penn community, and we will continue to update our central University webpage with answers to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as other essential resources and information.
Communications to students, faculty, and staff:
Jan. 30, 2020: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/announcements/coronavirus-update
Jan. 24, 2020: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/announcements/update-coronavirus