Pepperdine officials are continuing to monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and its impact here in the United States and abroad. Earlier today, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally declared a public health emergency of international concern due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. As of this afternoon, more than 8,200 cases worldwide have been confirmed with 171 deaths. The WHO, however, has also indicated that human to human transmission outside of China is extremely limited, with just eight cases in four countries outside of China.
Pepperdine is advising all individuals in the University community, including students, faculty, and staff, who have traveled to or from China—or have had sustained contact with individuals who have done so—since January 10, to contact the Student Health Center for a risk assessment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Los Angeles County Public Health (LACPHD) guidelines stipulate that travelers from China should be monitoring themselves for symptoms of infection. Screening by the Student Health Center will ensure that any at-risk or ill individuals obtain proper care and will help ensure the safety of the campus community.
Los Angeles County Public Health continues to affirm there is no immediate threat to the general public and the risk of spread of the virus in L.A. County is low at this time. Pepperdine community members should continue to engage in their regular activities and, while no special precautions are required, individuals are encouraged to practice good public health hygiene, especially since this is the height of flu season in Southern California.
As a reminder, if you feel sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others within the campus community, you should stay home from school or work, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. In addition, wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
The situation around the coronavirus remains fluid, and the University will continue to update its advice based on the most current information available. To learn more, community members can visit the Student Health Center’s Frequently Asked Questions page on the coronavirus or call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316, option 3 with any questions.
The University has been working closely with international and domestic officials to monitor the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak beginning in early December 2019. Since the last communication to the University community yesterday evening, the number of confirmed cases has grown to 4,690 with 107 deaths in 16 countries and five confirmed cases in the U.S. and two in Southern California.
As always, the safety and well-being of our students is the University’s highest priority. Based on information available at this time, including the spread of the coronavirus and related travel warnings and restrictions, as well as the University’s deepest care for the experience of our students and their academic needs, Pepperdine and Seaver College officials have made the decision to suspend the Shanghai International Program for the Spring 2020 term. In the coming weeks, the University will evaluate whether to resume operations for the program in summer and/or fall 2020.
At this time, the University is aiding Shanghai program participants in returning to their homes. Students enrolled in the Shanghai program will complete their academic term at the University’s Malibu campus beginning February 17, 2020.
Due to the elevated State Department travel advisory, all other upcoming University-related travel to China continues to be under review on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the University’s International Travel Policy. Please contact the Office of Emergency Services at 310.506.4996 for questions or assistance with the review process.
For more information about these actions, a series of frequently asked questions will be regularly updated on the International Programs Community webpage. The University will continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and will update the University community if conditions change significantly.
Pepperdine University is closely monitoring the evolving novel coronavirus outbreak in China and around the globe. As with any public health risk, Pepperdine community members are encouraged to take all necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety and health.
What is the current situation?
- There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Thousands of cases are reported in Wuhan and severe illness, including death, have been reported. This outbreak began in December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude, now involving cases in a number of other countries, including several cases in the US.
- Symptoms of this coronavirus include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- Person-to-person spread is occurring. Details of the virus, such as how it spreads and its incubation period, are still being investigated.
- The US State Department updated its Travel Advisory for China to a Level 3 Reconsider Travel designation today as Chinese authorities continue to impose quarantines and restrict travel throughout the country. The State Department also issued a Level 4 Do Not Travel designation for Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, due to the outbreak.
- Due to the elevated State Department Travel Advisory, all University-related travel to China must be vetted prior to departure in accordance with Pepperdine’s International Travel Policy.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently advises avoiding all non-essential travel to China.
- Seaver College students participating in the Shanghai international program can expect to receive additional information from the University tomorrow.
What can we do to decrease our risk of illness?
- Travelers should take precautions such as avoiding contact with sick people, animal markets, and products from animals such as uncooked meat.
- All Pepperdine community members should wash their hands frequently, get adequate sleep/fluids/nutrition, not share food and drinks, and ensure immunizations are up to date.
If you traveled to China (or any other area with ongoing transmission of the virus as reported by the CDC) in the last 14 days OR have had close contact (such as with a roommate or family member) who has traveled to Asia in the last four weeks and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, take the following actions:
- Seek medical care right away, but CALL THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE OR EMERGENCY ROOM before going and tell them of your recent travel and symptoms. If you are an enrolled student, call the Student Health Center at 310.506.4316 and select option 3.
- Avoid contact with others and DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK until you have been evaluated by a medical professional.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (and not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- If someone reports to you that they are feeling sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and they have recently traveled to China or any other area with ongoing transmission of the virus reported by the CDC, encourage them to seek medical care using the steps listed above.
University officials will continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and will update the community if conditions significantly change.