Skip to main content

Coronavirus Information and Update

DEPARTMENT(S): 
January 24, 2020

Dear WPI Community,

We wanted to let you know that the university is closely monitoring the recent outbreak of coronavirus and related cases of pneumonia that began in China. While there are no reported cases on campus or in this region, the university’s Coronavirus Working Group is actively tracking this evolving situation and both discussing and determining appropriate and prudent measures of prevention and response.

As with other infectious diseases and public health concerns, the university is following the guidance and direction of local, state, national and international health agencies. (It is important to note that this is also the height of the flu season, and students, faculty, and staff are far more likely to be impacted by the Influenza virus.) 

At this point, experts believe the coronavirus originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Healthy young people are thought to have a lesser risk for developing serious symptoms, while the elderly and/or those with compromised immune systems are considered to be at greater risk.  This virus’ transmission potential and modes of transmission remain unclear, though human-to-human contact is considered a highly probable conduit.

Symptoms look much like those of a common cold: cough, fever, runny nose, headache, sore throat, and/or general malaise.  More serious cases include difficulty breathing, bronchitis, or pneumonia.  During regular business hours, any students with these symptoms should contact WPI Health Services at 508-831-5520; there is a physician on call after hours and on weekends.

Preventive Measures

In addition to routine cleaning, WPI has increased disinfection work for of all points of public contact on campus, including door handles, handrails, and other high touch areas in academic, residential and other buildings.  More hand sanitizers and sanitizer dispensers can be found around campus, and campus food servers are being extra vigilant about food station/dining area sanitization.

The entire community can help prevent the spread of germs by:

  • Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Frequently washing your hands – for at least 20 seconds – with soap and water.
    • Though less effective, use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, or if you feel sick.
  • Avoiding crowded places and markets.
  • Maintaining good personal hygiene, and avoiding touching your face.
  • Seeking medical attention if you develop symptoms, especially fever or shortness of breath.
  • Not traveling if sick.

For the most up-to-date information, please consult the CDC website

Travel Information/Resources

Anyone who is traveling should check the U.S. Department of State Travel Pages and WPI International SOS Members Portal for intended destinations. We also encourage travelers to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and register their WPI affiliated travel through the WPI MyTrips International Travel Registry, so that you will receive travel alerts and warning from the U.S. Department of State and International SOS.  Both have apps that you can download to your phone.

As a reminder, those travelling on WPI affiliated business who may have immediate health, safety and security queries or concerns can contact International SOS assistance centers 24/7.  Also, the CDC website offers guidance for anyone who has traveled to Wuhan, and for those traveling there.

Travelers should also know that there is screening for the coronavirus at an increasing number of international airports in the United States.  

Of course, we will keep the WPI community informed as new information becomes available.  In the meantime, anyone with questions or concerns should contact WPI Health Services at x5520.  

Thank you all for your assistance in preventing the spread of germs.