Important Information Regarding COVID-19, the “coronavirus”, or 2019-nCoV
March 9, 2020
Dear Curtis community,
Curtis is committed to supporting everyone in our community throughout the developing situation of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV. Under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Pennsylvania Student Health Service (Penn SHS), multiple staff across Curtis are working together to ensure the health and safety of our campus and to follow relevant protocols to address any cases that may arise on our campus.
At this time, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 in our community. As part of being proactive, Curtis will continue to look at any and all options to keep our students, staff, and faculty healthy. This could include suspending all operations. This document summarizes actions that have been taken to date, outlines precautionary behaviors, and identifies further resources. Updated information will be posted as it is available.
We would like to remind everyone that while the origins of the virus were in China, the virus does not have a race, ethnicity, or geopolitical boundary. Cases have been documented in individuals of varying ages, genders, and countries of citizenship. Curtis has immense appreciation for our international students, faculty, and community members from China and other affected areas, and condemns the profiling occurring in some places in the United States. All members of the Curtis community are expected to treat each other with consideration and maintain standards of conduct. We will not tolerate harassment of any kind.
COVID-19, also known as 2019-nCoV and coronavirus, is a newly identified virus causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in central China and since then has spread to most areas of the globe. This new virus is a public health concern because it is new and so much about it is still unknown.
No. The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses in the United States, causing 140,000 hospitalizations, and 8,200 deaths. Currently flu is a far bigger threat than COVID-19. We encourage all community members to be aware of the measures you can take, outlined below, to help protect you from contracting an illness.
Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and can range from mild to serious. Specifically, an infected person will have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Seek medical care right away. Students should contact Penn Student Health, an urgent care location in Center City, or an emergency room.
It is currently believed that coronavirus spreads from person-to-person, likely through droplets of saliva when someone coughs or sneezes.
People infected with COVID-19 should receive health care immediately to relieve symptoms. There is no specific antiviral treatment, nor a vaccine.
Masks are only recommended for those individuals experiencing symptoms. The evidence regarding using masks for prevention is mixed, as many people do not use masks correctly. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the CDC do not currently recommend masks for the prevention of viruses.
Per the Department of State and the CDC, travel to countries with a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory should be cancelled. As of March 9, such countries include China, Iran, Venezuela, South Korea, Italy, Mongolia, and others. Travel to Japan, Hong Kong, or Russia is categorized as Level 2, which advises enhanced precautions. Curtis does not recommend travel to any of these areas unless absolutely necessary.
If you are traveling to any other country, we advise the following:
Updated March 11, 2020
Extension of Spring Break. The current spring vacation will be extended until Sunday, March 22. During this period, no school-sponsored activities – lessons, coachings, rehearsals, classes, etc. – will be scheduled. Dining services will continue to be closed. Access to Curtis facilities, such as practice rooms and rehearsal spaces, will be limited to Curtis students, faculty, and staff only. Students currently at home for spring vacation are urged to stay there, and students in Philadelphia - particularly those residing in Lenfest Hall - are encouraged to take this opportunity to return home if possible. The current understanding of COVID-19 suggests that less dense residential environments may prevent the spread of the virus.
A campus-wide alert was sent on March 5, asking all students, faculty, and staff to register Spring Break travel. If you did not yet register your travel, please do so by clicking this link to the Travel Registry. This information will enable us to assess the risk posed to our community by exposure through travel. We will continue to monitor this and will update the community on policies in accordance with Department of State and CDC guidelines.
Curtis on Tour performances in the Detroit area (March 13-15), Chicago (March 18), and Washington, DC (March 22) have been canceled. All Curtis performances from April 1 through the end of the semester will proceed as scheduled with live audiences but are subject to change as we monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our operations. For questions about performances, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facilities. The Facilities Operations staff are diligent in their care and cleaning of all Curtis buildings, which occurs daily. During this flu season, extra attention is being paid to door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, and high contact areas. Hand sanitizer stations are located in every building and common area and are always stocked, as are the soap dispensers in all restrooms. These precautions, together with vigilant hand washing, should decrease the risk of germs being spread.
Contingency plans are also being developed in the event that a member of the Curtis community is unable to travel to their home during a session break or over the summer holiday. This will be updated as Department of State and CDC travel restrictions are implemented and/or lifted.
Curtis utilizes the OneCall Now emergency notification system for students, faculty, and staff. In the event of a campus emergency, crisis, or shutdown, you will be alerted by call, e-mail, and text message.
Campus alerts are also posted on the Curtis Campus Alerts website: https://info.curtis.edu/alerts.
For questions about the OneCall Now system, contact Nicholas Lewis, associate dean of student and academic affairs, at email@example.com.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• World Health Organization
• Philadelphia Department of Public Health
• Department of Homeland Security Pandemic Readiness
Thank you for doing your part to help keep our campus community safe and healthy.If you have any questions about this document, please contact Trisha Carpino, senior director of human resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Meredith Tarditi, associate dean of student life and international student affairs, at email@example.com.