College Communications Archive

 March 23, 2020: Update from Governor Baker's Emergency Order re: COVID-19

Today, Governor Baker issued Emergency Order #13, requiring non-essential businesses to close and workers to stay at home. You can read more about the Emergency Order online.

While community colleges are deemed essential in the Emergency Order, and our College remains open, we recognize the importance of the Governor’s Order in the interest of public health. With this understanding, we are implementing the following, to be valid through April 26, 2020. Additional guidance will be provided further into the month of April.

  • College employees will work from home; only designated employees will be onsite.
  • Classes, over the next few days, will transition to remote. We will be approaching 100% remote by the end of the week.
  • While our campus will remain open for designated employees, it will not be accessible to students and the general public. Access to services for students and the general public will be by phone, online, or chat.
  • Students who need internet access, computing devices, or technical assistance required for remote learning should complete this form.
  • The DISH food pantry will be open Tuesday, March 24, 9 a.m. to Noon. Beginning Wednesday, April 1, the DISH will be open every Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. for scheduled pick-ups. Order online, pick-up your pre-packed orders at the Charlestown Campus, left of B-Building entrance.  Look for the DISH signs.

We will continue to update you on this very fluid situation. Stay safe. We appreciate your patience. We will come through this together.

Pam Eddinger
President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academic and Student Affairs

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administrative and Finance


 March 20, 2020: Faculty and Staff Update to BHCC COVID-19 Resources

Thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding as we’ve worked together to serve our BHCC community.

As we head into the upcoming weekend, we wanted to share new resources that are available to you including updates to the College’s Coronavirus Information webpage and a new Coronavirus Resources page for faculty and staff on BHCC’s Intranet.

  • The Coronavirus Information webpage on the BHCC website now includes updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Important Contacts and Hours for individual departments for the extended Spring Break March 16-29, 2020. In addition to archived communications to the College, you will also find resource links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 
  • The Coronavirus Resources page on BHCC’s Intranet features a growing catalog of Frequently Asked Questions to assist College faculty and staff as you transition to remote working and learning.

These pages will continue to be updated daily as we find new ways to provide academic and business continuity and provide high-quality remote service for our students.

In the coming days, we will be adding a Student-Centered Resource page to address student questions as well as archived communications sent by the College Provost.

We’d like to assure you that we are following the recommended guidelines and taking steps to assure that we continue to clean during this pandemic.

After the three-day deep cleaning that started on March 12, the College has put in place weekly disinfecting mist cleaning and a bi-weekly high touch point surface deep cleaning on both the Charlestown and Chelsea campuses. All areas shall be disinfected with the mist cleaner including all classrooms, offices, hallways, stairs, elevators, laboratories, library, gymnasium, locker rooms, dining hall, kitchen, auditoriums, entrances, foyers and other areas. High Touch Points throughout each campus shall be deep cleaned by wiping clean, door handles, classroom and office desks, tables, sinks, faucets, light switches, classroom chairs, dining hall tables and chairs, auditorium seating etc. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been added to high traffic areas.

Lastly, many of you have inquired about how the College is protecting community members. We are working closely and following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health and advising faculty and staff to transition to remote working and learning and practice social distancing when on campus.

We will continue to provide ongoing updates as new information and resources become available. This is vital work and we appreciate your patience as we do our best to address questions and concerns, provide critical resources and information, and develop communications to best serve our community.

We hope you and your families are well. Please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Pam Eddinger
President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academic and Student Affairs

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administrative and Finance


 March 19, 2020: Update on Activities for the Coming Week

Dear College Community,

As we all attempt our best to meet the unpredictable challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, I see extraordinary progress and dedication to ensure academic and student support continuity, as well as ongoing business viability. It is very characteristic of our College to place student retention and success at the center of our work. To see it amplified in this crisis is powerful and humbling. The energy is palpable. I am grateful beyond words. 

Here are our current plans:

Starting Friday, March 20 until Sunday, March 29, all BHCC campuses will be open to faculty and staff only. College support for students and the general public will be available via email and phone. Live Chat will be introduced shortly. Shuttle service will not be available. Aladdin Food Management Services and the BHCC Bookstore will also be closed.

The DISH food pantry will continue to operate with abbreviated hours of Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for orders placed through SmartChoice. Patrons should enter through the 1st Floor B Lobby to pick up order.

Week of March 16: BHCC is on Spring Break this week. Students and teaching faculty were off campus, with very few exceptions of an occasional visitor seeking information. We have attempted to redirect that traffic to phone or online communication. 

Administrators, Professional Staff, and our Support Staff have been working. Most are spending time preparing to work remotely. Information Technology (IT) is working briskly to provide VPN access and technology devices. A brief review this morning shows that a high percentage of employees are able to work remotely. The immediate challenge is remote access and the availability of devices for offsite work. Providing 80% or more of our non-faculty employees with secure remote capacity is a very tall order, and it is being addressed as rapidly as possible by the IT team. Please be patient as we work through this process.

Our goal is to reduce human presence on campus, so those who are here practice social distancing. With the anticipation of faculty returning next week for professional development on course conversion, we intend to have 80% if not more of our employees on remote assignment.

Week of March 23: We are suspending all face-to-face instruction. Online classes will operate as usual. Faculty will be participating in a series of professional development activities to pivot to remote learning.

Emergency Management Coordination and Union Collaboration

The Emergency Team, with a core team of 14, meet via WebEx at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day, to monitor the immediate challenges, and also to anticipate the fallout in future weeks.

Our Collective Bargaining partners, AFSCME an MCCC, are working with management (represented by the DHE) to ensure that working conditions under these difficult times are clear.  We appreciate the collegial environment, and the agreement on urgency.

FAQs and Information Links

We are posting information at our bhcc.edu COVID-19 page. Please check frequently for archives of past communications, as well as FAQs regarding service availability and hours.  These are updated frequently.

The Office of the Provost is providing daily updates via email on progress regarding academic and student services work.

Thank you for your dedication and your patience. Take care.

Pam Eddinger
President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academic and Student Affairs

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administrative and Finance


 March 19, 2020: Update on Suspected Case of COVID-19 on Chelsea Campus

Dear College Community:

We are writing to update the BHCC community about our work to proactively respond to a report by a staff member at the Chelsea Campus that they were exhibiting symptoms of the COVID-19 virus 48 hours after they were last on campus, March 6, 2020, for 1 hour only.  The staff member sought care by a health provider, contacted their supervisor immediately and was tested for COVID-19. The one Individual that had direct contact with the staff member has been on self-quarantine for the past 8 days and has shown no symptoms of COVID-19. Notice to the College Community was made on March 11, 2020. 

The Emergency Management Team reviewed the facts and pro-actively closed the BHCC campuses from March 12-15 and conducted extensive cleaning based on the Massachusetts Board of Health and the Center for Disease Control protocol. 

Last evening, the staff member reported that they tested positive for the virus and are receiving continued medical care. As per Board of Health guidelines, we contacted the MA Board of Health that evaluated our actions as a College and stated that we had already instituted the recommended protocol and that there was no need for additional action.

It is important to note that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only individuals who come in close contact with a person with a positive COVID-19 test are required to self-quarantine.  A person who has contact with a person without symptoms who was exposed to a positive COVID-19 person is “not considered exposed” to the virus and requires no testing, symptom monitoring or special management according to the CDC’s Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposures: Geographic Risk and Contacts of Laboratory-confirmed Cases.


BHCC faculty and staff have been working together to move teaching, learning, and support services to remote formats (Moodle, Email, Phone and Chat). We continue to  work collaboratively to maximize remote work, teaching, and learning opportunities for the foreseeable future in accordance with Governor Baker’s recommendations for higher education.

At this time of concern and anxiety, we encourage all members of our community to continue practicing social distancing and other preventive health behaviors such as: washing your hands often with soap and water; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.  If you are sick, stay in your home and contact your primary care physician or other medical professional via phone.

Please look for a separate email/notice today regarding information on limiting on-campus work for Faculty and Staff only and additional resources.

For more information or updates about coronavirus/COVID-19, please visit the College’s website at https://www.bhcc.edu/coronavirus-info. We have added a frequently asked questions section along with contact and hours of operations page. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please visit the Important Contact and Hours page

Thank you for your dedication and your patience, stay well. 

Pam Eddinger
President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academics and Student Services

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administrative Services


 March 15, 2020: Student Update on COVID-19 at BHCC

Dear Students,

We wanted to provide you with an update on the suspected case of the COVID-19.  The temporary closure was triggered by a suspected case of COVID-19 of a staff member on the Chelsea Campus. We were informed last week that we would have results by today, but unfortunately, we are still awaiting the test results from the Department of Public Health. While the current case is not confirmed, the College is practicing abundant caution in following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) for a presumed positive. The one individual with close contact to the staff member is completing a course of self-quarantine.

Spring Break begins tomorrow and we have added an additional week of no classes or instruction with exception of mini-sessions and 100% online instruction. Mini-sessions and online classes are scheduled to resume on March 23 and more details will be sent to your BHCC email.

The College will open tomorrow, Monday 3/16/ 2020, following a three-day closure for deep cleaning and disinfection of Chelsea and Charlestown campuses.  Although the College will be open tomorrow, we ask you to call or email if you plan to visit the campus. We want to expedite your time on-campus and assist you in the best way that we can.

We are racing to keep pace with the fast-changing landscape of COVID-19. We urge all of you to exercise personal caution and good hygiene practices.  Following the guidelines, it is recommended that all students, faculty, staff and visitors that enter either campus should sanitize their hands immediately and practice social distancing including keeping a six foot separation between individuals.

All classes are currently planned to begin again on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 7 a.m. You should be receiving emails from your faculty the week of March 26 or sooner. Faculty are doing their best to develop methods to move as many learning experiences for the rest of the semester on-line so fewer students need to come to campus.

Please continue to check your BHCC Email for updates and details regarding your classes.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we’ve evaluated this situation. We are committed to student success and helping our students stay on-track during this time.

Pam Eddinger
College President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academics and Student Services

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administration and Finance


 March 15, 2020: Faculty/Staff Update on COVID-19 at BHCC

Sent on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The College will open tomorrow, Monday 3/16/ 2020, following a three-day closure for deep cleaning and disinfection of the Chelsea and Charlestown campuses.  Before we provide more details about the opening of the college, we want to share an update about the individual we reported to you last week.

The temporary closure was triggered by a suspected case of COVID-19 of a staff member on the Chelsea Campus. We were informed last week that we would have results by today, but unfortunately, we are still awaiting the test results from the Department of Public Health. While the current case is not confirmed, the College is practicing abundant caution in following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) for a presumed positive. The one individual with close contact to the staff member is completing a course of self-quarantine.

Because we are beginning Spring Break tomorrow, there are no classes.  Additionally, instruction is suspended the week after with exception of mini-sessions and 100% online instruction. Many departments have reduced hours and public interactions for these two weeks already. As we begin to arrange for more remote work, physical presence on campus will be drastically reduced.

The College will open tomorrow, and staff are asked to report to work. If you have any questions, please reach out to your supervisor. This week and next week, we will see intense preparation for remote instruction, remote work, and identification of services tied to campus so we can put prevention practices in place.  

We are working on a detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to be available Tuesday to provide answers and resources for specific areas of operations. We continue to add links and resources to the Coronavirus webpage. Communication sent to all students is also archived on this webpage.

We are racing to keep pace with the fast-changing landscape of COVID-19. Our plans will likely change as we pivot to the best information we have on hand to make decisions. We urge all of you to exercise personal caution and good hygiene practices.  Following the guidelines, it is recommended that all staff, students, faculty and visitors that enter either campus should sanitize their hands immediately and practice social distancing including keeping a six foot separation between individuals. We also ask you to be flexible and creative in helping us reduce physical presence on our campuses, so students and staff who must be here can have plenty of space and social distance.

We often praise our students for their grit and resilience. We will have an opportunity to learn with them during this crisis, and find resilience as a community of learners. Thank you for your patience and your care. We are here for questions, concerns, a sympathetic ear. We will get through this together.

Pam Eddinger
College President

James Canniff
Provost/VP Academics and Student Services

John Pitcher
CFO/VP Administration and Finance


 March 12, 2020: Faculty/Staff COVID-19 Update

Sent on behalf of the Emergency Management Team 

Dear faculty and staff,

We realize this is a tense and concerning time. The situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, and we are updating you as we receive new information.

In response to the spread of COVID-19, the College has put into place several processes and is preparing to implement more as the situation warrants.  The teams anchoring this work are our Emergency Management Team (EMT), also known as Incident Command (IC), and the Vice Presidents’ Council (VPC). The EMT/IC monitors, disseminates essential information, and makes recommendations for action; the VPC is the decision-making body. 

While we are temporarily closed for cleaning and disinfection for the next three days in response to a possible case on our Chelsea Campus, we have not permanently shuttered the campus for the Spring Term.  We are following protocol established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health.  

It is important to note that while many four-year residential colleges have closed, BHCC and other community colleges do not have residence halls, and do not manage large group living.  Our students are primarily adults with family, coming to us within a 10-mile radius.  We are also aware that students may not have WIFI or computer access at home, and must continue to rely on campus resources.  We are concerned about other basic needs provided currently by the food pantry and other supports. 

Our goal is to reduce the number of individuals on campus, so those who must access resources on site can do so with adequate social distancing.  We aim to ensure service and academic continuity, and the resources to do so.  

On Tuesday this week, the Governor declared a state of emergency, which allows the Commonwealth to access federal resources and funding in dealing with the outbreak. The Governor also set out directives for operations, which we are following.  We are limiting international and domestic out-of-state travel, large gatherings, and taking meeting venues online.

In anticipation of the coming weeks, we are implementing the following:

  • Enable staff to work from home when possible and if their essential functions allow.
  • Enable faculty to provide alternative delivery for the remainder of the semester, either for the full course or for portions of a course in accordance with the faculty’s judgment. Multiple and varied strategies are welcomed, with the focus on reducing the number of individuals on campus.
  • Suspend instruction the week of March 23 (extending spring break for the students) with the exception of fully online classes and mini-session classes.
  • Utilize the week of March 23 to allow faculty and staff sufficient time for planning and professional development to prepare for alternative delivery.
  • Offer compensated opportunities during Spring Break week should faculty wish to plan and create alternative strategies.
  • Deep cleaning and disinfection on campus begins tomorrow for both the Chelsea and Charlestown campuses. 
  • Urge the College community to use the Health Emergency Reporting (COVID-19) form to report any concerns. https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?BunkerHillCC&layout_id=10 

The development of the outbreak is rapid and unpredictable. We are monitoring and making decisions with as much information as we can gather.  We are committed to keeping the campus community healthy. For more information, visit the BHCC COVID-19 webpage.

We have included a copy of the communication that was sent to the students.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Pam Eddinger
President, Bunker Hill Community College

John Pitcher
Vice President, Administration and Finance

James F. Canniff
Provost and Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs


 March 12, 2020: Student COVID-19 Update

Sent on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Dear Students,

We realize this is a tense and concerning time. The situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, and we are updating you as we receive new information. In response to the spread of COVID-19, the College has put into place several processes and is preparing to implement more as the situation warrants.  

Spring Break has been extended:
March 16  through March 28 with classes resuming Monday, March 30
(with the exception of fully online classes and mini-session classes)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has shared that social distancing is one of the best protection against the spread of the virus. The strategies implemented by the BHCC Emergency Management Team (EMT) also known as Incident Command are to reduce the number of individuals on campus, encourage social distancing, ensure service and academic continuity, and make sure students are not restricted by the lack of resources at home. 

The following are processes now in place:

  • The College is currently closed for 72 hours as a precautionary measure, starting March 12th.
  • Another communication will be sent to the BHCC Community once we get the individual’s test results to determine if the college will open on Monday, March 16.
  • On-campus classes and activities have been suspended through March 28 except for fully online classes and mini-session classes. Check with your faculty if you are unsure.

 The following processes are beginning to be implemented:

  • Deep cleaning and disinfection on campus during the two weeks without instruction.
  • Reducing the need for large group gatherings in classrooms, the library, and computer labs.
  • Faculty will determine their class instruction or assignment schedules.
  • ·Faculty will notify students regarding academic plans.
  • Resources for Webex, Moodle, Digication and other learning platforms will be communicated before classes resume.
  • Please use the Health Emergency Reporting (COVID-19) form  to report any concerns. https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?BunkerHillCC&layout_id=10

The development of the outbreak is rapid and unpredictable.  We are monitoring and making decisions with as much information as we can gather.  We are committed to keeping the campus community healthy.  For more information, visit the BHCC COVID-19 webpage.

Please continue to check your BHCC email and sign-up for BHCC Alerts if you haven’t already.

The health and wellness of our students and the BHCC community is our top priority. Below are resources to learn more about COVID-19 and ways you can prevent the spread of the disease.

What You Should Know about COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Protect Yourself : Wash Your Hands

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

What to Do if You Are Sick and Steps to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

 


 Message from March 11 - Classes Canceled: Effective Thursday, March 12 until Monday, March 16

Dear colleagues and students,

We have learned this evening that there is a presumptive (update 3/17/20: the word "presumptive" was used incorrectly, it should have been "suspected") the case of COVID-19 on the Chelsea campus. Test result for this individual will be available in 72 hours. This is not a confirmed case at this point.

As a proactive precaution, we are closing the College, both the Charlestown and Chelsea campuses and all classes on satellite and instructional centers will be canceled.  This is effective Thursday, March 12 until Monday, March 16. On or before March 16, we will provide an update once we know more information.

Reminder, that spring break starts on Monday, March 16 and there are no classes.

The health and safety of our campus community is our priority.   
Thank you for your patience.
The Emergency Management Team


 Coronavirus Travel Restrictions for BHCC Faculty, Staff, and Students: March 6, 2020:

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Due to the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), effective immediately college-sponsored international and domestic out-of-state travel is suspended until further notice. This applies to professional travel, including conferences and workshops. Please work with your vendors to cancel conference registrations, hotels, flights, etc. and request a refund for all travel expenses to date.

Members of the Emergency Management Team (EMT) are closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to keep the College community safe.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Pam Eddinger
President, Bunker Hill Community College

John Pitcher
Vice President, Administration and Finance

James F. Canniff
Provost and Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs


 Coronavirus update - February 28, 2020

Dear Members of the BHCC Community,

Sent on behalf of Emergency Management Team at Bunker Hill Community College

We are writing to share information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide an update on the preparations and planning taking place for our BHCC campuses and community. Members of the Emergency Management Team (EMT) continue to work in close collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health who are monitoring the confirmed cases in the community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to classify the immediate health risk posed by COVID-19 as low.

Academic Continuity
The CDC is urging all schools, businesses, and individuals to prepare for the eventuality of an outbreak in the United States. Members of the EMT and Academic leadership are currently planning for academic continuity of instruction in the event that the College would be closed. During an academic semester, there may need to be a modification of course assessment strategies, class attendance policies and/or course delivery modes as well as the need for emergency staffing.

International Spring Break Travel
Students, staff, and faculty who are planning to travel internationally during spring break in March are encouraged to monitor official government travel advisories. In recent weeks, the CDC and the State Department have elevated travel advisory levels for several countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. While restrictions currently apply only to travelers returning to the U.S. from China, the situation is evolving and new restrictions could occur.

Please take the necessary steps to be informed and learn about important updates as they happen:

Emergency Text alerts. Sign up now for BHCC text alerts!

The CDC recommends that you use reasonable precautions to maintain your health and prevent the spread of all respiratory conditions, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Touch-free standing hand sanitizers are being placed in high-traffic areas on the Charlestown and Chelsea campuses and H-building.

Other Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/
https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Thank you for partnering to keep the College and community safe.


 Coronavirus update - February 11, 2020

Dear Members of the BHCC Community,

Sent on behalf of President Eddinger, Provost/Vice President Canniff, and CFO/Vice President Pitcher

We are closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to keep the College safe. To date, there have been 12 confirmed cases in the U.S., including one in Boston.  As of now, according to the public health authorities, there is a low risk to the general public. As a standard procedure that is documented in the College’s Emergency Operation Plan, the Emergency Management Team has been monitoring this situation and at a meeting held on February 10, 2020, the Level 1 - Pre-event Planning section (which includes communicating and monitoring health alert updates from Federal, State, and Local agencies) of the Annex H: Pandemic and Disease Outbreak was reviewed as part of the Emergency Operation Plan.

We are working on creating a resource webpage for BHCC and will continue to provide updated information in a variety of communication channels to the BHCC Community. 

The two main resource sites for the novel coronavirus are the CDC and Mass.gov:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/
https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Thank you for partnering to keep the College and community safe.

 Source: All-College Email


 Coronavirus update - February 3, 2020

Following the Trump Administration’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency concerning the coronavirus on Friday, January 31, 2020, the administration announced over the weekend additional emergency measures, including:

Foreign nationals other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have traveled in China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.

  • U.S. citizens who have traveled to Hubei province, where the virus originated, will be held under mandatory quarantine for 14 days after they return to the US.
  • U.S. citizens who have recently traveled to other parts of China will undergo health screening upon entry into the country and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Self-quarantine rules would require individuals to stay in their homes, monitor themselves for certain symptoms such as coughing, and check their temperatures and report this information to local health officials.
  • All commercial flights from China shall be restricted to U.S. airports in one of seven cities - New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.

These emergency measures were announced by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and took effect on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. Since this announcement, the number of cases in the U.S. has risen to eleven, including a confirmed case at UMASS Boston involving a student who recently visited Wuhan, China, which is part of Hubei province.  The new travel and quarantine measures were established, in part, based on Friday’s announcement by U.S. officials that screening tests for coronavirus are not always accurate and that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus.

Source: All-College Email


 Coronavirus update - January 31, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the new coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. (https://www.who.int/)

The U.S. State Department has upgraded its travel advisory for all of China to “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” the highest travel advisory level.  Previously, only Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated, was designated as a “Level 4: Do No Travel” zone.

(https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html)

Some U.S. Senators are urging the White House to implement a ban on all travel to and from China, as well as to put in place more stringent screenings at U.S. airports.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/coronavirus-china-live-updates/2020/01/31/eeac61b6-442b-11ea-b503-2b077c436617_story.html

Source: All-College Email


 Memorandum - January 29, 2020

Dear Members of the BHCC Community:

There is much concern over the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and recent reports of cases in thirteen other countries, including the United States, where there are currently five confirmed cases (two in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington, and one in Illinois).  Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated the risk to the U.S. public is low, the CDC recommends that you use reasonable precautions in order to maintain your health and prevent the spread of all respiratory conditions, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To further assist and educate the public concerning the virus, the CDC has established a coronavirus website that includes a wealth of information including: information about the transmission, symptoms, prevention and treatment of the virus; frequently asked questions and answers (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html); guidance for travelers; and information for health care professionals.   To access the CDC’s coronavirus website, please visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Additionally, the CDC has raised its travel advisory for China to the highest level - "Level 3 Warning."  This status urges travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country.  (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china).  Previously, only Hubei province, the epicenter for the coronavirus, carried the Level 3 designation.  The CDC's new travel precautions shortly followed the U.S. State Department raising its own travel advisory for most of China to "Level 3: Reconsider Travel," with Hubei province rated "Level 4: Do not travel"  (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html).

In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has also issued guidance concerning the virus, which can be found at:https://www.mass.gov/clinical-advisory/update-and-interim-guidance-on-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-in. According to the guidance, the current risk to Massachusetts residents is low.  However, as a precaution, Boston’s Logan International Airport has announced that it will begin screening travelers from any country that has confirmed coronavirus cases.  If an individual presents symptoms of the virus (i.e., fever, shortness of breath and cough), they will be placed in isolation and assessed further. 

If you have recently traveled to or from China, or have come in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus, you are directed to contact Denise Amerena (damerena@bhcc.edu; (617) 228-2185, Charlestown Campus, E-154), the College’s Health Officer, and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.

Thank you for your attention in this important matter of public/community health.