Previous Updates: COVID-19
The following is an archive of all previous updates related to COVID-19 at Massasoit Community College. This information is not current. Please visit this page for current COVID-19 updates.
Updates as of March 23, 2020
This morning, Governor Baker issued a closure of all non-essential businesses in Massachusetts beginning Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00 pm until April 7. We are awaiting for a formal advisory from the Massachusetts Department of Education as there is some language related to colleges and universities, but we are planning for all instruction and services at Massasoit to be delivered remotely. We will update the college community as soon as we have additional detail.
Please continue to check email and this page for updates. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- Updates as of March 19, 2020
I hope you’re all keeping well. Just a few updates and quite a few thanks today.
- Thank you to our faculty, our distance learning staff, and academic affairs who have done – and will continue to do – hours upon hours of work to move our classes to a remote learning platform. I am impressed by the lengths you’ve gone over the last two weeks – thank you. When we teach nearly 1000 credit sections and hundreds of non-credit classes and moved the vast majority of them to a remote format, you’ve performed nothing short of a miracle!
- I expect to share the list of classes that will be taught remotely, as well as those that may be offered as hybrid courses – with increased sanitation practices and increased social distancing – tomorrow following the virtual town hall.
- The process we announced last night relative to remote enrollment and advising services is in place – the intake form for students, both current and prospective, is available at this link as well as on the home page of www.massasoit.edu. Huge thanks to the enrollment management team for designing and implementing this process.
- Don’t forget that the food pantry is available to any and all who have a Massasoit ID. At this time we are prepackaging foods in grab-and-go bags; please sign up at this link and we will coordinate with you. Thanks to the dean of students’ office for managing this important process.
- Finally, we expect to roll out additional information relative to resources in the next day or two. Please email email@example.com with questions or if you’d like to add to the list.
Thanks again to all of you – we are all in this together.
Updates as of March 18, 2020
All in-person classes, including the in-person component of hybrid classes, non-credit courses, contract courses, and clinical rotations are suspended through the end of the day on March 28. Most classes will resume in a remote capacity on March 30. At this point, the full list of classes and how they will be delivered is in development – we will share it as soon as it is ready.
- We are actively encouraging students who have enrollment needs to reach out to the college by email as the first way to address their questions.
- Email first. We will respond to each student email.
- Phone second. We may ask students to reach out by phone if email is insufficient or we may contact them by phone.
- Appointment third. If the student feels they must come to campus, we will ask that they make an appointment in advance.
- Enrollment services in Canton are being routed to Student Central in Brockton. Students who come to the Canton campus will be able to do their enrollment activity remotely from the Canton Campus.
- Due to the suspension of in-person classes for the time being and our minimized staffing levels, we will not be opening our Middleborough Center on Thursday and Friday of this week. Middleborough will reopen on Monday with minimal staffing levels.
- We are actively encouraging students who have enrollment needs to reach out to the college by email as the first way to address their questions.
Updates as of March 17, 2020
Based on guidance from the Department of Public Health and Department of Higher Education guidance, we are announcing that all face-to-face instruction has been suspended for the weeks of March 16 and March 23. We understand that clinical hours, internships, and hands-on learning is a significant component of many students’ education. We will provide additional guidance relative to how this suspension impacts students in the coming days.
The suspension of in-person classes includes clinical rotations, non-credit courses, and off-site contract courses — all suspended through the end of the day on March 28.
The college will open on March 18 with minimal on-campus staffing levels.
Please know that we do not make any of these decisions without thinking through all the implications for students, faculty, and staff. Our goal is to keep the Massasoit community safe from the spread of COVID-19 and be able to meet our mission. We are continuing to assess the situation, and how to navigate the best way to provide continuity of service to our students.
As previously announced, all on-campus events are canceled or postponed through April 9. Additional guidance on events post-April 9 will be forthcoming.
In-person services will be extremely limited in the coming weeks. Please refrain from coming to campus if possible.
Updates as of March 16, 2020
In the rapidly changing environment in which we’re living, I have several updates for you and a few clarifications that I want to share.
Although we were planning on opening our doors tomorrow, March 17, we are suspending normal college operations another day to continue our planning for minimum on-campus staffing levels which includes maximizing remote learning and remote working possibilities. Supervisors will coordinate with their staff to maintain operations with minimal coverage on campus. In-person faculty training scheduled for March 17 is postponed until March 18.
The College will open on March 18 with minimal on-campus staffing levels. The schedule for in-person faculty trainings remains in place for March 18-27 at this time. As a reminder, remote training is also available.
We are fully committed to maximizing remote work, teaching, and learning opportunities for the foreseeable future as we work to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities.
I want to reiterate that I understand this is a challenging time for everyone. We are in a constantly changing environment. We are doing our very best to plan ahead, but I ask that you bear with us as we manage this fluid situation.
Please note that although the Governor has announced that all schools are closed through April 7, this order does not apply to colleges and universities, and it is imperative that we continue our operations to the best of our ability. This will mean that our operations will look different than normal – classes will be taught primarily in a remote capacity and staff will work remotely where possible. The college is complying with the Governor’s orders and with CDC and Department of Public Health best practices.
Online classes that started the semester online will continue to operate as such. Students who are in existing online classes will not see any change to their course schedule after spring break. All fully online classes will continue as normal.
In-person classes, for the most part, are in the process of being moved to a remote learning format; the new format will begin on March 30, and students who have in-person classes that will be moving to remote instruction should expect to continue instruction on that day. We will be posting a list of all in-person classes that will be transitioned to a remote format as well as those classes that will be continued in an in-person format. Most in-person classes will be suspended from March 23-27. Any exceptions will be listed separately.
Finally, we will conduct a virtual town hall meeting later this week where students and employees will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of me and my team. More details to come on this.
Although we don’t have all the answers yet, we’re working on getting them for you. Please continue to reach out with questions.
Updates as of March 14, 2020
We all know that the current situation is difficult at best and calls for us all to be flexible and understanding. While we weather the storm, we are working to provide as many resources as possible for our faculty and students as we increase remote learning opportunities.
My team and I are acutely aware of how challenging this situation is, made more challenging by the many K-12 schools that have canceled classes. As we navigate how to move forward, I want you all to know that we are considering the needs of parents alongside all of our other decisions.
Many folks have asked which classes offered on our three campuses are continuing on an in-person basis after spring break. When that list is complete, I will share it with the college community.
Again, we deeply appreciate everyone’s flexibility and willingness to work together. We will update the community again on Monday evening – the situation remains fluid, so please make sure you check the updates every day.
Remote Learning Resources
ITS will be acquiring a dozen hot spots, and Comcast’s Internet Essentials program is now free for qualified students. Campus Wi-Fi will remain available, and we’ll identify outdoor areas where the signal is strong.
We will be making at least one hundred laptops/Chromebooks available when students return from spring break. We’re working to increase these numbers. Unfortunately, hardware vendors have been struggling with supply chain issues, as many manufacturing plants are in China. For this reason, it is unlikely that any newly purchased devices would be available for at least a month.
Updates as of March 13, 2020
Beginning today, I will be sharing an email once a day to keep everyone up to date on all the moving pieces. Expect to see the email in your inboxes sometime in the early evening. Certainly, if we receive breaking news, we will share it as soon as we receive it. In addition to the information I shared last night, I have several updates for today. Fortunately, we remain at low-risk and we are not aware of any confirmed cases of coronavirus at the college.
The most important work we’re doing is providing for academic continuity during this time. We struggled over the decision to suspend classes for a second week following spring break for a myriad of reasons. However, we came to the decision that we needed to provide answers for students and faculty sooner rather than later. Our goal to create more social distancing to keep employees and students safer requires us to suspend most in-person classes allowing for fewer individuals on the campus at any one time. It also provides us the time to ensure that faculty have the resources they need to accommodate alternative modalities.
Therefore, for the week of March 23rd–27th, we will suspend most in-person classes. We are in the process of identifying in-person classes that must continue to meet face-to-face and that cannot easily move to alternative modalities. By Tuesday, March 17, we expect to be able to publish a complete list of courses that will continue to meet on campus during the week of March 23–27. We are adding resources and encouraging flexibility. And, because not all students have internet access or appropriate equipment in their home, we will be increasing resources for students and faculty.
Online courses (and the online portions of hybrid courses) will continue as scheduled March 23–27 without interruption.
We are not closing the college. We are very mindful that many students consider Massasoit their haven and rely upon campus resources. Holistically supporting our students’ well-being is always at the forefront of our decisions. Beginning March 23, we expect to continue all on-campus services for students including access to computer labs, the Pantry, Student Central, WIC, Academic Resource Center, etc.
Additional information and resources are below.
The Governor has announced several orders that I want to be sure you are aware of:
The modification to the state’s open meeting law to allow for remote voting for boards is of particular interest to the college.
Additionally, the President has declared a national emergency, freeing up funds to be used for COVID-19 mitigation and testing. Details are available at this link.
I’d like to remind the college community that the Massasoit’s community assistance resources for educational success (C.A.R.E.S.) is available for members of the college community who may need additional support. Additional detail is available at this link, including detail about mental health counseling, our food pantry, and our WIC mobile site. While BAMSI and Whitman Counseling are not scheduled to be on campus during spring break, students can be seen at in-person at the Whitman Counseling Center. The BAMSI Helpline, which offers referrals for housing, shelter, and other emergency services, is always accessible at 508-584-4357.
Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex, does a wonderful job outlining the reasons why a decision to close is so complex in this post: Coronavirus, Community Colleges, and the Equity Gap. I encourage you all to take a few minutes to read through the story.
Our ITS staff reminds everyone to stay vigilant when online and beware of phishing or other attempts to gain access to your data. Additionally, Attorney General Maura Healy issued guidance today on being on alert for individuals and businesses that may try to take advantage of uncertainty about the coronavirus, both online and in person.
Finally, I want to share this piece from the New York Times. The article outlines how important it is to take preventative measures to “flatten the curve” in an epidemic like we’re currently experiencing and the need to not overburden our healthcare systems.
Updates as of March 12, 2020
Thanks for sending me your comments and questions. We’re doing our best to address all the concerns raised. It is an incredibly stressful time for everyone, and I am grateful for your understanding.
The good news tonight is that we do not have anyone in our community with a diagnosed case of the coronavirus and the college remains at low-risk. The two individuals who identified exposure (one direct, one secondary) have been for testing and are now self-quarantined as a precaution.
The situation has been changing rapidly so I appreciate your patience as we continue to protect the safety and well-being of our campus and meet our mission as an academic institution. Several of our sister colleges have suspended face to face classes the week following spring break to allow faculty the time and assistance to use alternative modes of delivery for their classes. Other classes – such as those 100% online, clinical, and lab intensive classes – are on-going on most campuses that are still open at this time.
Additionally, the Commissioner of Higher Ed is convening working groups to determine our college’s capacity for alternative delivery and policy and procedures as well as funding needs.
More to come as the work on this continues.
I have addressed the themes of some of the questions I have received below. We are also continuing work on an academic continuity plan for how our classes will more forward after spring break, and will have further information tomorrow. Finally, the resources for managing coronavirus-related anxiety, found at this link, may be helpful.
I will do my best to reply individually to those of you who’ve reached out, and I thank you all for your patience.
Thank you all,
Are clinical rotations canceled for allied health students?
The college is not canceling instruction that is scheduled at offsite locations, including clinical site placements. Several of our sites have canceled clinical visits – please check with your site as to whether or not your clinical will take place. Faculty are working with the clinical sites to create alternative instruction for students or using simulation labs where necessary.
What campus was the potential case presented on?
At this time, the direction from the Department of Public Health is that contact with someone who has been in contact with someone who has tested positive (known as secondary exposure) is not cause for alarm. We have no reason to believe that any of our students, faculty, or staff were directly exposed to the virus or need to take any further precautions. Of the community colleges in Massachusetts, three have identified secondary exposure with a few people self-quarantined; no community college in Massachusetts has a presumptive or confirmed case on their campus at this time.
Do I need to do anything differently if I or someone I am in close contact with is immunocompromised, elderly, or otherwise at high risk?
If you or someone you are in close contact with in a high risk category, consider reviewing CDC guidelines available at this link. Based on our current knowledge, the virus is not currently present at Massasoit, but we are taking every precaution in order to minimize risk to the community.
Are we going to cancel classes or move to online instruction after spring break?
We have not made a final determination but will do so in the coming days. We are closing the college buildings until Tuesday morning to deep clean and sanitize as a baseline; this will be done by an outside, professional cleaning service. In addition, our maintainers are treating surfaces several times daily while students and employees are on campus. We ask everyone to practice social separation and lots of hand-washing, which are two of the most effective strategies to stay healthy.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and will notify the community should our risk level change.
At 8:45 am on March 12, the College was notified of an individual who is ill and is being tested for the coronavirus. Additionally, we have been notified of another individual who was on campus recently who was exposed to the virus but is not showing symptoms.
- Buildings at all three Massasoit locations will be closed beginning at 12:00 pm today until the morning of Tuesday, March 17th so that the college can deep clean.
- An outside vendor will be brought in to perform this cleaning.
- Classes scheduled for March 12, March 13, and March 14 are canceled. Business offices will resume activity on Tuesday, March 17.
- Students will be on Spring Break the week of March 16 and will return to classes on March 23.
- Classes scheduled for offsite locations will continue as scheduled.
- Buildings at all three Massasoit locations will be closed beginning at 12:00 pm today until the morning of Tuesday, March 17th so that the college can deep clean.
Additional detail will be posted to this page as we monitor the situation.
Every decision we make starts with the premise that we will not compromise the safety and wellbeing of our community.
Updates as of March 11, 2020
Following up on my daily emails regarding the college’s response to COVID-19, I want to again assure you that the college’s crisis response team, in consultation with statewide experts, is working to ensure the safety and security of all members of the college community.
I know this situation is challenging for everyone – I share your concerns and precautions, and I want to assure you that we are in constant, consistent contact with the Commissioner’s office, the presidents of the other community colleges, and our state-wide community college office, and we are collectively monitoring all public health announcements. All these entities and people are providing us with up-to-date, comprehensive information so that we can make decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff. Every decision we make starts with the premise that we will not compromise the safety and well-being of our community.
But we need your help. Please do not come to the college if you are ill or not feeling well. And please, just ask if you have questions. It is best to reduce panic, to remain calm, and gather facts. While the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic, the Department of Health has said that 80% of cases will be mild and people should stay home and call their physician if they feel ill.
We will always share what we know. This is a constantly changing concern and we are actively monitoring it all the time. We will be developing further communications, and your feedback will help us respond to you and others who may have similar questions. You may ask questions or provide feedback at this link. As always, you can also reach out by email to this address.
Finally, I wanted to share a few updates with you this evening:
Per the Governor’s guidance, all external events scheduled at Massasoit through April 9 have been canceled or postponed; the list will be updated as necessary. If you have questions about a specific event that was scheduled to take place between now and April 9, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following meetings/events have been canceled or postponed:
3/18 Board of Trustees
3/25 Transfer Expo
3/27 Good Morning Metro South
3/28 Breakfast 4 Brothers & Sisters
3/30, 3/31, 4/1, 4/4 Anne Frank Theater Performance
4/1 Sexual Assault Awareness Month
4/3 Legislative OER Forum
4/3 Honor Garden Scholarship Donor Recognition Event
4/4 NEMATYC Conference
4/6 Hiring Expo
4/7 Canton Open House
4/16 Digital Media Conference
5/11 Honor Garden Scholarship Celebration
The following recurring meetings/events have been canceled or postponed:
Ongoing Signature Healthcare Zumba & Yoga Classes
Ongoing VITA Tax Seminars
Ongoing In-Person Info Sessions
Ongoing In-Person Campus Tours
Classes, student clubs, and other small internal events are proceeding without interruption, although we encourage the college community at large to help stop the spread of germs by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. For the hand sanitizer to be the most effective, be sure to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. And finally, keep a social distance from other people.
Extending beyond Spring Break
Two of the 15 Massachusetts community colleges have plans to extend class cancellations beyond spring break. Their goal is to train faculty to be able to create other modalities to teach their classes. A few colleges are holding hybrid courses. The statewide unions are meeting on Friday and Tuesday to discuss extending the semester if we choose or need to cancel classes for a week past spring break. We are not currently considering cancelling classes for the week after spring break, and we have not made a decision to move all classes online. Like the other community colleges, we know that many of our students do not have online access from home, and several of our programs require labs. There are numerous considerations to balance to ensure our community is safe and that we can deliver on our mission.
Employees who are ill should stay home and use their sick leave. Employees are reminded that they may use sick leave if a member of their family is ill and they need to care for them.
As a reminder, the College has established a voluntary reporting system for students, faculty and staff traveling internationally or who have been exposed to the virus and/or are being actively monitored for signs of infection. The form is available at this link.
Thank you to everyone for your concern for the health and well-being of our community.
Updates as of March 10, 2020
Earlier this afternoon, Governor Baker announced a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts due to growing concern over COVID-19. In addition, Governor Baker’s office issued guidelines for employees of the Executive Branch; Commissioner Santiago at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has strongly urged Massachusetts institutions of higher education to implement these guidelines as well.
Please note that at this time, the risk to the college community remains low – the following measures are taken out of an abundance of caution in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the Commonwealth.
These measures are effective March 11, 2020 and will be revisited in 30 days.
- Effective tomorrow, March 11, all college-sponsored travel for students and employees has been canceled. This includes all out-of-state travel and is in addition to already-canceled international travel.
- With regards to personal travel, the college strongly advises everyone to follow travel alerts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of State (DOS), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
- As a reminder, the College established a reporting system for students, faculty and staff traveling internationally. Reporting is strongly encouraged for those who have traveled internationally. The form is available at this link.
- Events scheduled between March 11 and April 9 are being assessed and college will make a determination about cancellation in the next 24 hours using the Governor’s recommendations as a guide.
- As we’ve noted previously, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers have been circulated to all three campuses. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been installed across the college, and a limited number of stand-alone sanitizers have been placed around campus. Further, all maintainers have been provided with the tools to sanitize their respective locations as they move across campus.
Updates as of March 7, 2020
With spring break approaching and folks preparing for travel, both domestic and international, I wanted to share the below detail regarding the coronavirus which comes to us from the system’s legal counsel. Thank you to folks who have reached out to ask questions or to provide suggestions on ways that we can improve our health and safety procedures on campus – please continue to do so, it’s incredibly helpful! To reiterate, the risk to Massasoit remains low; I will keep the community informed as additional information reaches me.
In light of the spread of the coronavirus, the College strongly advises everyone to follow travel alerts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of State (DOS), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DOS has also issued an emergency alert related to COVID-19. More information about travel and emergency alerts is available through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).
Due to the health risks associated with the coronavirus, the College is establishing a reporting system for students, faculty and staff traveling internationally, especially to countries where travel advisories have been issued by the CDC. Reporting is strongly encouraged so that the College can take appropriate preventative measures, offer available resources, and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill or has been in close proximity with someone who has become ill. Also, the information reported will assist the College in implementing any precautions or protocols recommended by public health agencies.
Presently, reporting is strongly encouraged for travel to or from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong as follows:
- If you have returned from any of these countries within the past 14 days, or have been in close proximity with someone who has, you must report within 24 hours of receiving this email.
- If you are currently in one of these countries you must report within 24 hours of your return.
- If you are planning to travel to any of these countries within the next 45 days, you must report prior to your departure and within 24 hours of your return.
In addition to those who have traveled internationally:
- If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, state or federal public health agency due to the risk of coronavirus, or have been in close proximity with someone who is, you must report within 24 hours of being notified of such monitoring.
The College has prepared an online reporting form to report all applicable travel information. The form is available at this link and can be completed and submitted electronically. A hard copy of the form may be requested by emailing email@example.com.
Students, faculty and staff who travel to any of the countries listed above, as well as other areas that may be added to the CDC travel guidance, may be required by the College to self-quarantine prior to returning to campus. In the event this occurs, the information gathered through the Travel Reporting Form will help the College to work with individual students and/or employees to plan accordingly for absences and, if applicable, offering instructional options in conjunction with applicable collective bargaining agreements.
All information gathered through this process will be maintained confidentially and separate from personnel or student record files and shall be used only to assist the College in providing and maintaining a healthy learning environment.
Updates as of March 4, 2020
An Updated Message from President Glickman
I wanted to take some time to update you on Massasoit’s preparation with regard to the coronavirus. First, I want to reiterate that the threat of contracting the coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts. Yesterday afternoon, Massasoit participated in a call with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) that was specifically tailored to colleges and universities. While much of the conversation surrounded how to manage on-campus housing and those students currently studying abroad, overall the message from MDPH was one of proactive planning in the unlikely event our campuses are significantly impacted.
Massasoit has taken a number of steps to ensure that we are prepared in the unlikely scenario that college services are interrupted:
- Yesterday, Provost Yameen circulated a memo to all faculty and staff regarding suggestions aimed at ensuring continuity of instruction in the event we are impacted.
- The CDC is recommending limiting non-essential international travel, and this morning Governor Baker announced a recommendation that all colleges and universities cancel international travel for the foreseeable future. As such, all upcoming international college-related travel has been canceled, including the student learning trip to Costa Rica planned for spring break. Replacement activities are being explored. At this time, domestic travel is not impacted; should MDPH, the CDC, or the Governor change those recommendations, we will act accordingly.
- Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers have been circulated to all three campuses. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been installed across the college, and a limited number of stand-alone sanitizers have been placed around campus. Additional stand-alone units are on order, but are back ordered. Further, all maintainers have been provided with the tools to sanitize their respective locations as they move across campus.
- The poster found at this link, which was circulated by MDPH, will be posted in restrooms and locker rooms across our three locations.
My team and I are monitoring the risk to Massasoit closely. In the event that anything changes and we feel that on-campus events need to be canceled or postponed, we will make that determination and notify the college immediately. At this time, again, the threat of contracting the coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts. Additional information will be posted here as updates become available.
Updates as of February 27, 2020
A Message from Massasoit President Gena Glickman:
In light of the growing global concern surrounding novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to assure you that the College is proactively and actively making plans in the event that we are impacted. That being said, the health risk to the general public in Massachusetts remains low, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has noted that there is no indication COVID-19 is spreading in our communities at this time.
To reiterate, we want to assure you that there is no immediate risk to the Massasoit community at this time. As it remains cold and flu season, we will be distributing disinfecting wipes and placing additional free-standing hand sanitizer stations across our three locations.
Finally, if students, staff, or anyone currently visiting Massasoit presents with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have traveled from China in the last 14 days OR are ill with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND had recent close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone under investigation by public health authorities for COVID-19, please contact the Massasoit Police Department immediately via 911.
A Message from the MA Department of Public Health:
At this time, Massachusetts has one confirmed case of COVID-19 and the risk to our residents remains low. At the same time, the risk for the influenza virus is very high.
The vast majority of reported cases of COVID-19 are in China. Confirmed cases of this respiratory virus associated with travel from Wuhan are also being reported in a growing number of countries, including the United States. Some person-to-person spread of this virus outside China has been detected but, again, the risk to Massachusetts residents remains low at this time.
We know that outbreaks of new virus infections are always of public health concern. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other federal agencies, local boards of health, and our clinical partners to share the most up to date information available.
It is important to note that Massachusetts residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the flu than to be exposed to COVID-19. Many of the precautions that help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against other respiratory viruses.
Recommended guidance: As of this writing, it is extremely unlikely that anyone with travel to mainland China within the past 14 days would be at school. As of February 3, 2020, travelers from mainland China are arriving into the U.S. at 11 airports (not including Logan airport in Boston) and are being screened upon entry. Travelers who are ill or who have traveled in the high-risk area of Hubei Province are being quarantined at the point of entry. Travelers from other parts of China without symptoms are being told to stay at home for 14 days from day of arrival.
If students, staff or volunteers present with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have traveled from China in the last 14 days OR are ill with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND had recent close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone under investigation by public health authorities for COVID-19, these are guidelines to follow:
- Place the individual in a private room, ask them to wear a face mask and close the door.
- Ask the individual about symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing). Other symptoms could include: chills, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you are in the same room as the individual, wear a face mask and stand at least 6 feet away.
- If the individual requires immediate medical care, call 911 for an ambulance, inform EMS of the individual’s recent travel to China.
- Call the DPH Epidemiology Line at 617-983-6800 or your local board of health for additional guidance.
The precautions to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against COVID-19.
DPH recommends that schools continue education about good hygiene. Students, staff, and volunteers should be reminded to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if unable to wash, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not with your hands)
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick
Clean hard surfaces (desks, tables, countertops, sinks). Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (door handles, faucets, railings), bathrooms and health rooms. Use alcohol wipes to clean keyboards.
For questions, call the DPH Epidemiology Line at 24 hours a day/7 days a week at 617-983-6800.
Updates as of February 3, 2020
A Message from Massasoit President Gena Glickman
There is much concern over the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and recent reports of cases in thirteen other countries, including the United States, where there are currently eleven confirmed cases in the United States, including one in Boston. Although the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated the risk to the U.S. public is low, the CDC recommends that you use reasonable precautions in order to maintain your health and prevent the spread of all respiratory conditions, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
To further assist and educate the public concerning the virus, the CDC has established a coronavirus website that includes a wealth of information including: information about the transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of the virus; frequently asked questions and answers (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html); guidance for travelers; and information for health care professionals. To access the CDC’s coronavirus website, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Additionally, the CDC has raised its travel advisory for China to the highest level – “Level 3 Warning.” This status urges travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china). Previously, only Hubei province, the epicenter for the coronavirus, carried the Level 3 designation. The CDC’s new travel precautions followed the U.S. State Department raising its own travel advisory for China to “Level 4: Do Not Travel” (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html).
In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has also issued guidance concerning the virus, which can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/clinical-advisory/update-and-interim-guidance-on-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-in. According to the guidance, the current risk to Massachusetts residents is low. However, as a precaution, Boston’s Logan International Airport has announced that it will begin screening travelers from any country that has confirmed coronavirus cases. If an individual presents symptoms of the virus (i.e. fever, shortness of breath and cough), they will be placed in isolation and assessed further.
Following the Trump Administration’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency concerning the coronavirus on Friday, January 31, 2020, the administration announced over the weekend additional emergency measures, including:
- Foreign nationals other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have traveled in China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.
- U.S. citizens who have traveled to Hubei province, where the virus originated, will be held under mandatory quarantine for 14 days after they return to the US.
- U.S. citizens who have recently traveled to other parts of China will undergo health screening upon entry into the country and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Self-quarantine rules would require individuals to stay in their homes, monitor themselves for certain symptoms such as coughing, and check their temperatures and report this information to local health officials.
- All commercial flights from China shall be restricted to U.S. airports in one of seven cities – New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.
These emergency measures were announced by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and took effect on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. The new travel and quarantine measures were established, in part, based on Friday’s announcement by U.S. officials that screening tests for coronavirus are not always accurate and that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus.
If you have recently travelled to or from China, or have come in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus, you are directed to contact your physician and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.