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We are reaching out to you with an update on the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on some of our students engaged in learning abroad, those who come from affected areas, and to provide information to those who are planning to travel during spring break.
Yesterday, March 1, The Rhode Island Department of Health announced the state’s first “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to the department, the person is in their 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department have recently elevated travel advisories for some countries. It is important that anyone planning to travel abroad consult these websites for travel advisories.
Cindi Lewis, Bryant’s Director of Global Education, Study Abroad, is actively engaged with students whose programs have been modified or canceled and those who need information about travel within or across affected regions. She has recently been in touch with all of our students abroad, including three students currently studying in Italy. Students studying abroad should continue to contact the staff of their abroad academic centers for the promptest support. Families with concerns are best assisted by contacting their sons or daughters, who are receiving frequent updates from their academic centers.
As a precaution, all Bryant students returning from study and/or travel abroad will stay home for two weeks before returning to campus, and upon return to campus they are required to check in with Health Services.
We strongly advise those of you with plans to travel over spring break to consult the CDC COVID-19 website for updates on the virus. Advice there includes being up-to-date on immunizations as well as having a flu shot. A page specific to spring break travel has helpful tips. Should you decide to travel internationally, please register your travel with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) which provides access to alerts from the local embassies and consulates. In accordance with CDC guidelines, travelers to regions with confirmed COVID-19 cases (including Italy) who feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are advised to stay home, avoid contact with others, and immediately seek medical attention.
Students who travel internationally should regularly consult with the State Department travel advisory regarding travel restrictions before and during the spring break.
We will continue to share news and will remain in close and regular communication with all members of our community abroad. The best way to stay informed is to:
• Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures.
• Check email and Bryant University’s emergency website, emergency.bryant.edu, regularly for important updates from the University or your program.
We also urge the campus community to follow some simple but effective illness prevention measures regardless of your location:
• It is not too late to get a seasonal flu vaccine. (Call your primary care provider or stop by any pharmacy as many now offer flu shots.)
• Cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow or sleeve.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• If you feel unwell, stay at home in order to protect yourself and other people.
• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading any virus to others, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Bryant University Campus
Members of the Bryant Student Affairs and Health Services teams, Human Resources, Academic Affairs, International Affairs, and our off-campus partners are doing as much as possible to keep our community healthy and are preparing for a range of possible developments. Bryant University has an Emergency Response Team in place, and that team will continue to meet to develop contingency plans that minimize risk and ensure the continuity of academics at the Bryant.
Ronald K. Machtley
Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Academic Affairs
Vice President and Dean of Students, Student Affairs
Vice President, Human Resources
Vice President for International Affairs
Director of Global Education, Study Abroad