Welcome back from spring break. A lot has happened in the world since classes paused on February 28. Information about the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been changing daily, and we hope you have been receiving the updates from the college. Our best effort to counter misinformation, increase awareness, and do our best to keep our community safe and healthy is to share information. Some of you may have questions or concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and be wondering what it means now that you are back in Boston.
If, in the last 14 days, you have travelled to one of the countries currently considered to be at enhanced risk; Italy, China, South Korea, Iran, or Japan, we ask you to voluntarily quarantine yourself. Do not return to campus. If you meet the criteria for quarantine, a member of the Center for Health and Wellness (617-824-8666) staff will assist you in this process. If the Center for Health and Wellness is closed, please contact the Residence Director on duty by calling the Emerson College Police Department business line at (617) 825-8555.
What does voluntary quarantine mean?
Individuals should: Stay home for 14 days from the time you left one of the above countries and practice social distancing. This means staying out of congregate settings, which include public places where close contact with others may occur such as: schools, shopping centers, movie theaters, subway, workplaces, sporting events, and classroom settings. Social distancing means being more than 6 feet/ 2 meters away from others. Do not use public transportation, train, bus, plane, or taxi.
● If you get sick with a fever, cough, or have trouble breathing, call ahead before going to a healthcare office or emergency room so they might advise you of the process in advance of seeking medical care.
● Do not travel while sick.
● Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
● Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60–95 percent alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
● If you have been under a voluntary quarantine and are not exhibiting symptoms, please contact the Office of Student Success to coordinate your return to campus.
All students who have returned from Kasteel Well (KW) have been asked to practice self-monitoring for 14 days after their arrival from the Netherlands. We ask everyone who has traveled via train, air, or public transit over break, as well as anyone who has travelled to high level affected areas to undertake the same efforts.
What does self-monitoring mean?
● You will need to check for fever by taking your temperature twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. Fever is defined as a temperature at or above 100.4 F.
● Self-monitoring does not curtail or restrict your activity or access to the Emerson campus or your activity to travel in Boston or elsewhere in the U.S.
● The Center for Health & Wellness (CHW) is providing KW students with a reusable card thermometer. If you have a digital thermometer you may use that. The thermometer should be wiped with sanitizer or soap and water before reuse. Do not share it with anyone else.
● If you do develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing (unable to catch your breath, pain with taking in a breath) during the next 14 days, contact one of the following offices to determine if an evaluation is needed. Please CALL in advance before seeking care & indicate “that you have traveled and are self-monitoring as required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health”:
If you are experiencing symptoms, you should also contact the Boston Public Health Commission which operates a 24-hour hotline at 617-824-5611.
Assistance from staff on campus is available from the Residence Director on Duty or Emerson College Police Department: (617) 825-8555, or the Center for Health & Wellness: 617-824-8666.
The best way to be prepared is to know the facts, and here are a few important ones to keep in mind:
● Emerson currently reports no cases of COVID-19 among our community, and according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the risk of infection to Massachusetts/Boston area residents remains low.
● Information from the College is updated regularly and can be found at www.emerson.edu/coronavirus.
● This is still the peak season for flu in Boston. If you have not already received a flu shot, it is not too late to get one. See the CHW Flu 101 webpage (www.emerson.edu/flu) for more details on how to stay healthy and what to do if you become ill.
● As of Thursday, March 5, Flu vaccine is still available at two nearby retail pharmacies:
Walgreens, 24 School Street (corner of School and Washington streets in Downtown Crossing)
Walgreens, 620 Washington Street
● We also recognize that relocation, travel, and the uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19 may create additional stressors. Counseling and Psychological Services is available to meet with individual students or groups of students who are feeling stressed. Counseling has Urgent Care appointments Monday through Friday from 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Call us 617-824-8595 or stop in the office at 216 Tremont Street on the 2nd floor, if you would like to make an appointment.
Finally, the best way to stay healthy lies in the skills we learned as children. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water. Avoid touching your face, eyes and nose. Sneeze and cough into your arm. Pay attention to your body and take steps to address any symptoms/illness that occur.
We wish you the best as you begin the semester,
Vice President and Dean of Campus Life
Jane Powers, MSN, ANP-BC
Director, Center for Health & Wellness