Based on the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Harvard University is adjusting its policies regarding travel by students, faculty, staff, and visitors to or from the SARS-affected areas of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. These particular changes will most immediately affect Commencement, reunions and upcoming Summer School and executive education programs. The University travel moratorium to these areas remains in effect. These policies have been adopted to help safeguard the health of everyone in the Harvard community while striving to provide pragmatic guidance.
Harvard’s Commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 5, is open to all invited guests. If guests are coming from a SARS-affected region, first check the Web site (www.emergency.harvard.edu) for updates; for further questions contact University Health Services via telephone at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) or via e-mail, email@example.com, to understand the symptoms of SARS and proper medical precautions. If guests become ill during Commencement activities, please immediately contact University Health Services via telephone at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) to arrange for a medical evaluation.
Harvard alumni from China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan who plan to stay in University housing or dormitories, even if only for one evening, as part of reunion activities are required to observe a 10-day waiting period between the time they leave their country and the time they check into University housing, which is the amount of time that the World Health Organization has identified as the incubation period for SARS. At check-in, alumni from SARS-affected regions will be required to show airline ticket stubs, passports, or visas to show that they have met the 10-day wait requirement. This precaution is necessary because viruses are known to spread more readily in living quarters and other enclosed spaces. In addition, a UHS official will be on call during check-in to provide medical evaluations as needed. Those who do not meet the requirements will not be allowed to reside in University-sponsored housing. A refund will be issued to any individual who is unable to meet these requirements. Those with questions about this policy should contact University Health Services via telephone at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer School/executive education
Summer School students, post-doctoral fellows, or other prospective attendees, including executive education program participants, coming from SARS-affected areas where they recently resided or visited should not plan on arriving at Harvard until after the 10-day incubation period has passed. If the 10-day interval has not been observed at the time of registration, students, post-doctoral fellows, or other prospective attendees will be asked to stay away from the University community at least until the 10-day period has expired before participating in the program.
Moreover, if students, post-doctoral fellows, or other prospective attendees are coming from an affected region and plan to stay in University-sponsored housing or dormitories (this includes hotels used for specific programs,) even if only for one evening, they will be asked to certify that they have observed the 10-day waiting period at check-in by showing airline ticket stubs, passports, or visas. This precaution is necessary because viruses are known to spread more readily in living quarters and other enclosed spaces. In addition, a UHS official will be on call during check-in to provide medical evaluations as needed. Those who do not meet the requirements will not be allowed to reside in Harvard-sponsored housing or participate in the program. A refund will be issued to any individual who is unable to meet these requirements. The University is receptive to accommodating individuals in future years who cannot meet the requirements this year. Those with questions about this policy should contact University Health Services via telephone at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) or via e-mail, email@example.com.
Until further notice, the University requires that all University members (students, faculty, and staff) who plan to host visitors from affected areas contact the appropriate dean or vice president and UHS before bringing the visitor on campus. Although Harvard’s only campus restrictions involve visitors who will be residing in Harvard housing, we want to be sure that every effort is being made to try to delay a trip to the area until after the SARS incubation period has passed.
Particular caution should be exercised in situations in which those coming from affected areas would reside in Harvard housing, even if only for one evening. The University has imposed a 10-day waiting period for those from affected regions between the time they leave the SARS-affected country and the time they are allowed to reside in University housing or University-sponsored housing. The World Health Organization has determined 10 days to be the incubation period for SARS. The University will condition residence in University-sponsored housing on verification that the visitor from a SARS-affected country has observed the waiting period because viruses are known to spread more readily in living quarters and other enclosed spaces.
Based on the advice of WHO and the University’s senior health officer, David Rosenthal, the University will continue its temporary moratorium on University-related or funded travel to China, including Hong Kong, and Taiwan, for all members of its community – faculty, staff, and students.
This means that University funds will not be used to support trips to China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, nor will the University facilitate or otherwise endorse travel to these areas until further notice.
If a University member believes there is a compelling University-related reason for travel to these regions, please first contact University Health Services at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, and confer with the appropriate dean, or, in Central Administration, with the vice president.
If there are specific questions about study abroad to areas that previously were prohibited, please contact the appropriate dean.
Though the University has lifted its moratoriums on travel to Toronto, Vietnam, and Singapore, travelers to these areas should continue to observe precautions to safeguard their health. This includes avoidance of settings where SARS is most likely to be transmitted, such as health care facilities caring for SARS patients.
The University strongly advises that personal travel to China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan by faculty, staff, and students is avoided. However, if a member of the University community feels that he/she must travel to these areas for personal reasons, he/she is required to notify the dean of the appropriate school, or in Central Administration, the vice president. In addition, University Health Services must be consulted prior to departure, and before reentering the Harvard community, the individual must receive medical clearance by first calling University Health Services at (617) 998-HUHS (998-4847) or via e-mail, email@example.com, to arrange for a medical evaluation. There is a possibility that the individual may be asked to stay home for a period of up to 10 days as a precaution.
Harvard continues to monitor the SARS situation. This policy is subject to change as new information becomes available and the University Web site will be updated accordingly. Students planning to return to campus in the fall from a SARS-affected region should be aware our policy is under consideration and more information will be available in the coming weeks. Students should consult the Web site periodically for updates.
More information about SARS can be found at the University Health Services Web site.