Dear LMU Community:
As the worldwide response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) develops rapidly, we are continuing to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff here and abroad. As of today, there have been no known cases identified at LMU. Please note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its information on the COVID-19 virus with new travel guidance and elevated advisories for specific countries.
As a result of growing health concerns, several Study Abroad locations in Italy have been closed. Fifteen LMU students who were enrolled with the Gonzaga-in-Florence program will be returning home, with academic plans to support them in completing their coursework remotely. LMU has also canceled the semester program to Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, scheduled to start in March, as well as other academic programs whose courses had an international component to a country with a Level 3 travel advisory, including China and South Korea.
We are making these decisions thoughtfully and carefully: We acknowledge that our students gain from studying abroad and the essential role these enriching academic learning experiences play in their formation. LMU will continue to follow closely the guidance of the CDC and the U.S. State Department as we consider options that safeguard our students and faculty who are currently abroad or planning to travel soon. Additionally, I have convened a university-wide working group to respond to the rapidly changing conditions of the COVID-19 virus and to manage the logistics to support our students if further cancellations are necessary.
This is a challenging time and our thoughts are with community members, family, or loved ones impacted. Please continue to reflect our core values as we stand in solidarity with our international students and scholars.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed only one case of COVID-19 in Los Angeles. The immediate risk from COVID-19 is low for workers in non-health care settings. However, the CDC also reports that more cases are likely in the United States in the coming days, and that person-to-person spread within the United States may occur. The university will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.
In areas where the COVID-19 virus is spreading, it is transmitted through:
- Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes;
- Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person; and
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, followed by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
If you have traveled abroad within the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with people who have recently traveled in that timeframe, please call your medical provider or emergency room immediately (prior to visiting) if you are experiencing these symptoms: fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
We are still in the midst of cold and flu season, so we recommend these precautions to avoid illness:
- Get a flu shot;
- 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;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The university has launched lmu.edu/coronavirus, which will be updated regularly to keep the LMU community notified with the most relevant information regarding COVID-19.
Visit these additional websites for more information:
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about
- L.A. County Health: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priorities and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust the university’s response as appropriate.
Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost