As we enter our spring break, a time when many members of the university community are likely to travel, it is of utmost importance that every member of our community stay alert and take precautions to stay healthy and avoid spreading disease.
We continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, which stands at about 77,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,000 deaths. Most of the cases are around the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in central China, but significant numbers of cases have been reported in other parts of China and neighboring countries such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
Because China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea have evidence of uncontrolled outbreaks of coronavirus, we are asking anyone in the university community who returns from these countries starting today to self-quarantine.
There are 15 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. It is important to note that no coronavirus cases have been reported at FIU and there are no confirmed cases in Florida.
Travel to Asia
Please note that the U.S. State Department has issued a Do Not Travel Advisory for China.
Anyone who travels to China should be aware of Center for Disease Control and Prevention protocols for reentry into the U.S.
At FIU, we are asking members of the community—including vendors who work on campus and other FIU locations—who have traveled to China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, as well as those who have recently been in contact with anyone recently arrived from those countries, to quarantine at home and avoid contact with others during a period of 14 days, even if you have no symptoms of illness.
Students who have traveled to or been in close contact with a recent arrival from China, Singapore, Japan or South Korea, should self-quarantine and reach out to their professors to arrange ways to complete their academic obligations remotely during this time. At the end of the 14 days, students should make an appointment at the Student Health Clinic to be cleared by a doctor.
Faculty and staff who have traveled to or been in close contact with a recent arrival from China, Singapore, Japan or South Korea should follow the 14-day self-quarantine. Medical clearance (from FIU Health or personal physician) is required before returning to work following the 14 days of quarantine. Please contact the Division of Human Resources at 305-348-2181 to ensure proper designation of leave and receive important information about work arrangements.
Faculty members and supervisors are encouraged to be supportive of students and staff during this cautionary quarantine period.
If you are aware of students, faculty, staff or visiting academics who have been to China, please be sure they are aware of this protocol and encourage them to seek medical assistance if they experience any symptoms.
Here are some tips from the World Health Organization on how to stay healthy:
- Maintain distance of at least three feet from any individual with respiratory symptoms.
- Refrain from touching mouth and nose.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially if you touch your mouth and nose and other potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Reduce as much as possible the time spent in close contact with people who might be ill.
- Reduce as much as possible the time spent in crowded settings.
- Improve airflow in your living space by opening windows.
For those with respiratory symptoms:
- Stay at home if you feel unwell and follow CDC and local public health recommendations.
- Keep distance from well individuals as much as possible (at least three feet, but ideally six).
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, with tissues or other suitable materials, to contain respiratory secretions. Dispose of the material immediately after use. Clean hands immediately after contact with respiratory secretions.
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.
For more information, please visit the Florida Department of Health website.