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3/10 Update From Executive Directors

(Originally posted March 10, 2020, at 9:25 PM)

Dear Mason Patriots,

The university is actively monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in our region, which continues to evolve rapidly. While the risk to the Mason community remains low, more cases have surfaced in the region and we expect the number to increase. As a result, we are taking some steps out of the abundance of precaution to mitigate exposure on our campuses.

Mason is suspending all university-authorized travel for students, faculty and staff effective Monday, March 16 through at least April 10. This includes domestic and international travel. Exceptions can be granted on a case by case basis in accordance with Policy 1134; however, travelers must be able to demonstrate a compelling and necessary reason to travel.

We recognize that this is an inconvenience and disappointment to those looking forward to attending these events; however, many event organizers are cancelling their programs on their own to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, we encourage students, faculty, and staff to avoid personal domestic and international travel during this time.

We are evaluating additional options, including extending spring break, cancelling events, moving to virtual learning and encouraging telework for employees. We expect to have additional details to share later this week. Please remember to check the university’s coronavirus website for additional details and information.

Experts say that one of the strongest weapons against spread of the virus is limiting exposure through social distancing. We want to repeat, if you feel unwell, please stay home.

Supervisors should take time now to think about how to structure telework for their departments. To ensure that all departments are appropriately staffed, please ensure all essential workers have VPN access. More guidance on setting up VPN is available from ITS.

Another known concern with the coronavirus is that it hits those with medical vulnerabilities the hardest. To that end, the university is encouraging supervisors to work with faculty and staff who request flexible work options due to medical susceptibility to coronavirus.  The supervisor should work with the employee to determine how the work might be accomplished remotely. Focus on being flexible and think creatively rather than on the employee’s medical condition and perceived limitations.  More information is available here: https://diversity.gmu.edu/services/accessibility/employee-accommodations or email benefits@gmu.edu.

If you are a student with a medical condition which compromises your immune system or puts you at risk for coronavirus complications, please consult with your primary care provider. Based on your medical condition, your provider can help you make the decision about whether you should stay away from classes and other activities and discuss any other precautions you should take to care for your health.

If your primary healthcare provider is Student Health Services, call us at 703-993-2831.

Once you have talked with your provider, email your professors to discuss how to manage your class work. If students have more specific accommodations that are not approved by faculty, please contact Disability Services.

We appreciate your patience as we prioritize the health and safety of our Mason community.

Respectfully,

David Farris, PhD

Executive Director, Safety & Emergency Management

Dr. Lisa Park

Executive Director, Student Health Services