Ebola Virus Disease

As an international educational institution, Middlebury College monitors international health situations. The current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa has prompted the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a level 3 travel warning urging all US residents to avoid nonessential travel to Sierra Leone and Guinea.The CDC has also issued a level 2 travel warning for Liberia, recommending that people practice enhanced precautions when traveling to Liberia. Exit screening and monitoring in the US continues for people returning from these 3 countries. While the threat of Ebola to the Middlebury campus is extremely low, medical staff will continue to monitor the situation and inform the community if the risk increases. 

At this time, Middlebury College health professionals encourage people to:

  1. Read the detailed information for Middlebury College and Monterey below.
  2. Stay informed by monitoring the CDC Ebola website, including CDC information specific for colleges and universities.
  3. Follow CDC advice regarding non-essential travel to designated high-risk areas.
  4. Note that anyone who has traveled to or is currently traveling in the affected areas, or who travels to those areas in the future (until further notice), will be required to delay his or her return to the Middlebury or Monterey campus for 21 days post departure from the affected areas.

Important Ebola Update

Middlebury health professionals and our emergency preparedness and response teams continue to monitor the tragic health crisis associated with the Ebola virus. We also monitor local health services (Porter Hospital, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula) for their preparedness should an infected individual need care in Vermont or Monterey.

As you may know, advisories issued by the CDC and local and state governments regarding travel to and from West Africa change almost daily. In addition, state and federal responses to diagnosed cases are in flux, and often include significant quarantines and unpredictable restrictions on the movements of individuals who may have been exposed to the disease.

The chance of an Ebola case on one of our campuses is extremely unlikely. Yet, while we have confidence that local medical facilities in proximity to Middlebury (Porter Hospital, Fletcher-Allen Health Care, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center) and to Monterey (Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula) would be prepared to deal with Ebola patients should someone in the our community be diagnosed with the virus, we also are mindful of the need to take protective measures that reduce the likelihood of encountering an isolated Ebola case on one of our campuses.

For this reason, we are adopting a set of policies intended to reduce the risks to our community.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, Middlebury will not support sponsored travel to countries identified by the Center for Disease Control as high-risk areas, (currently Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). This policy applies to all Middlebury schools and programs, including the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (MIIS). No credit will be given for any educational activities, programs, or internships pursued in those areas for the near future, and no research support or any other type of institutional support will be provided for staff or faculty planning to travel to these countries. Students, faculty, and staff at Middlebury and Monterey are strongly discouraged from traveling to these sites until further notice.

The only exception allowed to these travel restrictions would be for individuals who can provide evidence that they have special expertise and training to assist in the humanitarian effort to help Ebola victims or to help contain the Ebola outbreak at its source.

Any member of the Middlebury/Monterey community (student, faculty, or staff) who is planning to travel to these areas for any reason, whether it is a family or emergency visit, or because they are in the exempt category mentioned above, must contact the Parton Center for Health and Wellness for consultation before leaving.

In addition, anyone who has traveled to or is currently traveling in the affected areas, or who travels to those areas in the future (until further notice), will be required to delay his or her return to the Middlebury or Monterey campus for 21 days post departure from the affected areas. We encourage those individuals to follow the instructions of local health authorities regarding self-monitoring or (if required) self-isolation at a location away from the Middlebury and Monterey campuses.

To ensure that these protocols are followed correctly, any member of the Middlebury or Monterey community (students, faculty, and staff) who has visited or who visits the affected areas must contact the Parton Center prior to their return to Middlebury.

Finally, anyone who has reason to believe that they have been in direct physical contact with an Ebola patient or victim at any location also must also contact Parton Center prior to returning to campus. In such cases, Dr. Mark Peluso, our Medical Director, will assist in developing monitoring and return plans in consultation with our emergency preparedness teams.

Administrators in Middlebury and Monterey will work with any students affected by the 21-day delay in their return to campus, and will help to minimize the impact of the delay on their educational experience. In the case of faculty and staff, there will be no income loss as a result of the delayed return to either campus and we will work with individuals to enable them to continue working remotely as much as possible.

All members of the Middlebury and Monterey communities should monitor their Middlebury or MIIS e-mail for possible updates as the Ebola outbreak continues. Over time, other countries may be added to or removed from the list of high risk areas. For additional information, visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/ebola

It is important to remember that Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with body fluids from individuals with active symptoms. Federal, state and local health authorities are working hard to identify and monitor people with possible exposures, which greatly reduces the risk of the disease spreading in the United States.  

Thank you,

Michael Geisler
Vice President for Language Schools and Schools Abroad, and Chief Risk Officer

Mark Peluso
Medical Director and College Physician

 

MiddTags:

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