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Additional Info About the Suspension of University-Sponsored International Travel, Including D-Term Project Center Travel

DEPARTMENT(S): 
March 6, 2020

Dear WPI Community,

I’m writing to follow up on Wednesday’s announcement about the cancellation of international travel during D-Term.

I understand how devastating this news has been to many members of our community, especially students, and I really do appreciate the sadness, frustration and even anger that some are feeling.  WPI’s Global Projects Program is such a unique educational experience, and our students were so close to embarking on the work that they had prepared long and hard for – intense disappointment is totally justifiable. I share the disappointment, and I am deeply sorry that this decision has caused significant disruption to the plans and lives of many students and faculty members. 

As you’d expect of us, this decision was not taken lightly, and many members of the community provided their guidance, perspective, and input.  Given Governor Baker’s directive, the rapid spread of the virus, and the varied quality of health care around the world, I still believe this decision is the right one.  While we affirm the importance of global travel to the work of both our students and our faculty, our primary responsibility is the health and safety of our community.

Our work did not end with the decision to cease international travel.  There are concerted efforts underway to reimagine D-Term projects. Project advisers, other faculty, students, and countless campus partners are responding to this challenge with creative thinking, innovative ideas, and a dedication to ensuring all students have a rewarding project experience, no matter where it happens. I greatly appreciate their tireless efforts on behalf of those impacted by this decision.

I know there are still questions to be answered. We have developed FAQs that will be updated regularly, and that I hope provide helpful information. If you have other questions, please send them to CoronavirusQuestions@wpi.edu. Aside from the impact on D-Term travelers, people are worried about the potential risk to our campus community, should COVID-19 become a local threat. The FAQs will provide you with good insight into how WPI is actively working to mitigate risks and address issues, should they arise. And we will continue to monitor WHO, CDC, State and other official recommendations as the term progresses.

During this challenging time, I ask that you support each other. Students in need should seek out counseling services through the Student Development and Counseling Center (508-831-5540), and faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential support.

I look forward to our newly developed D-Term projects, to continuing to address this challenge together, and I welcome your questions and feedback.

Sincerely,

Laurie