Dear members of the university community:
Following the recent Centers for Disease Control advisory on coronavirus, on Thursday a group of 75 key administrators from around the university met at our Emergency Operations Center for an exercise focused on the possibility of a pandemic.
It is important to note that no coronavirus cases have been reported at FIU, and there are no confirmed cases in Florida. At this time, FIU is fully operational. We will operate as usual until circumstances dictate otherwise.
We came together as a team to work through potential scenarios. All members of our university community should feel comfortable that a group of capable professionals is monitoring the situation and is empowered to make decisions with the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff as the top priority.
You can reference our coronavirus resource page any time for the latest information from FIU as well as links to other sources. It is important that every member of our community remain informed as this situation develops.
What we have done so far
With the welfare of our community in mind, we have suspended all university travel and study abroad programs to China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Italy. Students, faculty and staff who were on university business in those countries have been asked to return to the U.S. immediately and self-quarantine for 14 days at home. We can expect the list of impacted countries will grow in the coming days.
In addition, we are requiring members of the campus community – including vendors who work on campus and other FIU locations – who have traveled to China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, or Italy, as well as those who have been in close contact (six feet or less for more than 15 minutes) with anyone recently arrived from those countries, to quarantine at home and avoid contact with others during a period of 14 days, even if no symptoms of illness are present.
If you have returned from China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea or Italy or have been in close contact with someone who has traveled to these countries and start to have symptoms of respiratory illness or fever, stay home and call your doctor to explain the situation before going to the doctor’s office, emergency room or hospital. These members of the community cannot come to campus during the 14 days of self quarantine.
Those who quarantine at home must monitor and record their temperature twice a day and see a doctor for clearance before returning to campus. Please note that a quarantine means staying home and avoiding all contact with other people.
Students required to quarantine at home should reach out to their professors to arrange ways to complete their academic obligations remotely during this time. Faculty will work with students who are required to self-quarantine so that they are not penalized for missing class.
At the end of the 14-day quarantine, students who are free of symptoms and have followed quarantine procedures should make an appointment with their doctor or FIU Student Health to be cleared to return to campus. Please be sure to call ahead and let the doctor’s office know you have been in quarantine.
Students who live on campus will receive a separate communication from FIU Housing regarding procedures for those who have traveled to the affected areas.
Students with concerns may contact FIU Student Health Services at 305-348-2401.
Faculty and staff
Employees who quarantine at home should contact the Division of Human Resources at 305-348-2181 to ensure proper designation of leave and receive important information about work arrangements.
At the end of the 14 days, faculty and staff who are free of symptoms and have followed quarantine procedures should make an appointment with their doctor or FIU Health to be cleared to return to campus. Please be sure to call ahead and let the doctor’s office know you have been in quarantine. Please print and take this clearance form to your doctor’s appointment.
For questions, please reach out to FIU Health at 305-348-3627(DOCS).
Summer study abroad
Decisions regarding summer study abroad programs are being made on a case-by-case basis. Students scheduled to travel abroad this summer should stay alert to announcements regarding these programs.
Two summer programs (Honors College to Japan and early childhood to Italy) have already been canceled while all other programs are being reviewed.
Campus events should proceed as scheduled. However, we must be ready. We are asking every member of the university community who is planning an event that will take place on or off campus through June 30, 2020, to fill out this short form with some basic event details. Should the coronavirus situation get to a point when we have to consider canceling large gatherings, we will use this information to make decisions and get in touch with event organizers.
Keep yourself healthy
For more details on how you can help prevent the spread of disease, please review these tips by the CDC. If you haven’t already, please get a flu shot. It will not protect you from coronavirus, but it will help keep you from getting sick with the flu.
If you are sick, please stay home and consult a medical professional. Some in South Florida have started to wear masks out of an abundance of caution. Dr. Aileen Marty, professor of infectious diseases at FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, has created a video with instructions on how to wear masks correctly as a preventive measure.
Because coronavirus can become a pandemic in the near future, you should consider starting personal and workplace preparations.
This is a good time for deans and faculty members teaching face-to-face classes to make plans should we need to put our courses online to ensure the continuity of the academic enterprise.
Much like we do to prepare for hurricane season, preparations related to coronavirus should include contingencies and supplies you and your family will need should you have to quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days.
Please be sure you have enough food and medication for every member of your family, including pets.
The most important step you can take right now is to stay informed and make sure that your friends, family and colleagues are aware and following the guidelines outlined by the CDC and related FIU protocols.
We will continue monitoring the development of the coronavirus situation and will keep you informed as necessary.
Here is a short video about preparedness that you can share with family, friends and colleagues.
Mark B. Rosenberg