UPDATE: February 29, 2020
Dear Loyola Community,
In light of the evolving health concerns surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), I am sharing with you our decision about repatriating students studying in Italy at the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC) and the message that Dr. Michael F. Andrews, Director, Loyola Rome Center, sent to students, parents, faculty, staff and partner schools.
Dear Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff in Loyola's John Felice Rome Center (JFRC),
With our students' wellbeing at the forefront of our decision-making and the newest directive from the U.S. government, Loyola University Chicago has decided to repatriate students studying in Italy at the JFRC and is asking all JFRC and partner school students to return home by Wednesday, March 4. This decision coincides and aligns with a number of other U.S. universities and partner schools with programs in Rome.
Based on evolving U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, students re-entering the U.S. are required to stay in place at home for a 14-day observation period. In the event that any symptoms are noticed, students should seek immediate medical attention.
The reason for our decision has been influenced in part by the recent travel advisory changes made by the U.S. Department of State and the CDC. Both agencies raised their travel advisory levels for Italy to Level 3 (Non-Essential Travel) out of concern for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in that country.
As a result of this change in advisory status, we are immediately working with the three major travel providers with whom the majority of our students have booked their travel (Heritage Travel, CISI, and GeoBlue) to begin booking flights back home to the U.S. An email with more details and contact information is forthcoming.
Loyola University Chicago will help defray the costs of additional fees and incidentals not covered in your students' existing travel itineraries and will address individual economic hardship cases and travel booking agent arrangements. We will also be following up with additional information on how we will accomplish this travel movement.
Given the significance of these transitions and to alleviate additional stress on our students, we are deferring mid-term examinations which we originally scheduled for the week of March 2. We are creating alternative and on-line academic programming which we expect to resume the week of March 16. Our plans call for available student housing in Chicago after students have completed CDC requirements. Other details about plans to ensure academic integrity and student success will be shared with you shortly.
We appreciate your continued support and understanding during this evolving global health situation and we will share with you updates as they become available. Rest assured, all questions and topics will be addressed appropriately and in a timely fashion.
We are saddened and share your disappointment around this decision. While we realize that there will be a disruption in our students' academic semester, we are making plans to create a positive alternative learning experience. Our concern for each other and our response as a Loyola community will continue to contribute to our resilience, learning and fortitude as global citizens.
This is a very fluid situation. We will do our best to keep everyone updated in the event that there are additional changes.
Dr. Michael F. Andrews
Director, Loyola Rome Center
We will continue to monitor the situation and update the Loyola community accordingly.
Let's continue to keep each other in our thoughts and prayers.
Norberto Grzywacz, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Dear Loyola Community,
As health authorities around the world increase their efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 (“Corona”) virus, I’d like to provide you with an update. We are working across teams, campuses, and programs to ensure the health and well-being of all of our students - international and study abroad students - with as little disruption to their academic programs as possible and prudent.
We are in continuous communication with representatives at our study abroad providers and university placements across the globe. Loyola is closely monitoring the situation and working with national and local health agencies and experts, and currently, there are no cases or disruptions to report. We are in continual communication with students, faculty, and staff in the field in the countries where they are conducting their studies. We are asking them to be aware and inform us regularly about their individual country health requirements and to follow guidelines established by Loyola and the health authorities in their host countries.
We have formed a COVID-19 response team at Loyola that is in constant contact with a range of agencies and officials abroad and at home, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ministries of health and local officials in the 33 countries where we have students.
In addition, we are networking with the American College Health Association, the Illinois and Chicago departments of public health, and Loyola’s Wellness Center has issued a series of guidelines since the outbreak became apparent in January. We are also in close contact with other colleges and universities, hospitals and public health officials to coordinate effective communication and prepare for scenarios that may arise as the situation evolves.
As of today, in Italy, our John Felice Rome Center remains open, and none of the major Rome study abroad programs have closed voluntarily or been ordered to close by local health officials.
Health authorities have indicated in their early findings that COVID-19 poses the most serious danger to the elderly, infants, and those with pre-existing conditions that put them at greater risk. On-site faculty and staff have been communicating with students about safety precautions including self-hygiene, independent travel, recommendations from the World Health Organization and CDC.
Across all of our campuses and programs here and abroad, especially during flu season, we promote best practice disease prevention among our students with an ongoing information campaign about diligent handwashing and other disease prevention steps they should incorporate into their daily routines.
The health and well-being of our students is our highest priority. You may visit our Loyola Wellness Center for the latest updates to students and families and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions. Questions can be directed to the Office of International Programs at email@example.com / 1-773-508-3899.
Frank LaRocca, SJ, MBA, JD
Special Assistant to the Provost, Global and International Education
Loyola University of Chicago
Joan Holden, APRN, ANP-BC
Director, Loyola Wellness Center
January 30, 2020
We are following up on our January 24 note about the Coronavirus. Through Loyola’s Wellness Center, we continue to closely monitor the situation and remain in contact with public health officials so that we can best advise our community.
To date, more than 8,200 cases of the virus have been reported globally, with over 100 deaths. Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported the second confirmed case of the virus in Illinois. This individual is the spouse of the first confirmed travel-related case in Illinois. We want to assure you that this case continues to have no connection to Loyola. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the IDPH reiterate that the immediate risk to the general public remains low.
News outlets are widely reporting that the virus has spread throughout China and other countries. In keeping with the latest non-essential travel advisories from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State, and in an overabundance of caution, Loyola has implemented a moratorium on University-sponsored travel to China at this time.
The handful of Loyola students studying in China were not located in the Hubei Province, where the virus has had its main impact. As a proactive measure to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, study abroad programs in China are suspended for this semester.
Loyola’s Office of International Programs, in coordination with the relevant academic deans, is working closely with students and their families who are impacted by this decision to help them make other arrangements as they continue their studies.
We urge you to continue to practice safe hygiene to ensure you and our community stay healthy. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you have traveled to China and feel sick, or have spent time with someone who has been diagnosed with this virus, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Loyola students can call Dial-a-Nurse at 773-508-8883 with questions or visit the Wellness Center for updates. Faculty and staff can contact their healthcare providers should they have questions.
If you experience any symptoms during this cold and flu season, or if you have traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- 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.
As always, the health and well-being of our Loyola students, faculty, and staff remains a top priority.
Other relevant updates will be provided to you as this dynamic situation continues to unfold and other information becomes available.
Joan Holden, APRN, ANP-BC
Director, Loyola Wellness Center