February 28, 2020 – Notice Duquesne to Cancel Pending Trips for Locations with CDC Level 3 or Higher
On the afternoon of Friday, February 28, Duquesne University officials decided, while monitoring CDC travel health notices, that if and when a destination reached CDC level 3, the University would cancel pending trips and arrange for the return of any students, faculty, and staff from that destination.
CDC Level 3 advises to avoid non-essential travel. By Friday evening, Italy's CDC travel health level was raised to 3. The University has cancelled a planned spring break trip that was to have left on the morning of Saturday, February 29, for Rome.
Additionally, the University is arranging for the 59 students at its Rome campus to return to the United States.
At this time, there are no reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Duquesne University or in Pittsburgh. We continue to monitor updates and recommendations issued by the Allegheny County Health Department, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC has issued current travel notices for six destinations:
- China: Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
- South Korea: Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
- Italy: Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
- Iran: Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
- Japan: Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions)
- Hong Kong: Level 1 (Practice Usual Precautions)
Duquesne continues to keep the security of our students, faculty, staff and campus as our top priority. We encourage people to continue to check for health and safety updates regularly as the information is rapidly changing.
The University's Emergency Management Team is meeting regularly to monitor new and changing information, ensure preparedness, and evaluate needs of our community.
Duquesne's Rome Campus
As noted, Duquesne is arranging for its 59 students and their faculty at our Rome campus to return to the United States. The Center for Global Engagement is helping students navigate the processes, providing coordination to maximize their safety and to facilitate ways to continue with their coursework for the semester.
There are still no cases of COVID-19 reported in Rome and there is no travel ban in the city or for leaving the country. The students are safe and have the support of Duquesne staff in Rome. The move to return the students is simply adherence to the University's policy decision and heeding the recommendations of the U.S. government.
If you are considering international travel, the University encourages you to monitor travel advisories. Depending on your destination, you may have to reach decisions to change or cancel plans to ensure your wellbeing and timely return.
In many countries, entry and exit control measures could change, and even quarantines implemented, with little notice. These actions could severely impact your plans and/or delay your return home with personal cost.
Per the CDC, the University recommends being aware of your health status when making decisions regarding travel. Individuals most at-risk are those with compromised health systems. If you have a temperature or respiratory illness, consider your options with your primary care provider.
Safety and Prevention Actions
University Health Services continues to advise campus offices on updates and preventive measures. Residence life also is providing guidance on preventive measures recommended by federal health experts. The best actions individuals can take is to practice prevention methods endorsed by the CDC.
Those methods include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
As students and faculty return to campus following spring break, our campus staff is prepared to communicate best preventative practices and to provide necessary support. University officials are in regular communication with local and state health department officials. We have no reason to believe there is any risk to anyone on the Duquesne University campus. and the American College Health Association has advised that there still is "no basis for changing business as usual regarding housing, campus events, and other circumstances under which large groups of people will be gathering."
Care Resources and Returning to Campus
As noted above, attention to personal preventive measures is the best advice for keeping safe:
- Check reputable sources of information, with the best being the CDC's fact sheet.
- While traveling, practice prevention methods.
- If experiencing symptoms of concern prior to returning to campus, please consult with your primary care provider.
- If experiencing symptoms of concern after returning to campus, consult with your primary care provider as able before calling University Health Services.
- If you wish to schedule an appointment, call the office first at 412.396.1650. It will save you time, ensure you are not unwittingly exposing yourself or others, and ensuring staff can serve the needs of our campus community.
- Encourage others with whom you associate to seek accurate information and to practice preventive measures.
We ask that members of our community be vigilant and responsive to combating ongoing issues of bias and xenophobia in affected communities. Such behavior does nothing to assist our community in ensuring safety and awareness for our people.
If an instance of COVID-19 emerges in Pittsburgh or on the Duquesne University campus, we will follow the protocols established by the Allegheny County Health Department.
Duquesne maintains a network of health care providers and professionals who will assist as needed and recommended per county, state and federal guidelines. The University regularly works with county officials on a variety of health matters and has a plan for isolation and management of infectious outbreaks, if needed.
Please be assured that Duquesne continues to monitor the situation closely. The University will notify the campus community immediately if any significant changes in plans or protocols develop.
We urge smart decisions, care for others, respect for good information, and thoughtful cooperation as we maintain the safety of our community and region.