Georgetown updates visitor policy in response to West African Ebola outbreak

Paranoia surrounding the West African Ebola outbreak and its potential to spread to the United States has found its way to Georgetown, but it can never hurt to be prepared. Administrators announced an update to the campus visitor policy on Wednesday. Anyone visiting a Georgetown campus from Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Guinea may be screened by the University.

Associate Vice President for Risk Management Joseph Yohe and Assistant Vice President for Student Health James Welsh alerted the Georgetown University community to the policy change via email.

“While the risk of the Ebola virus affecting our campus community is low, the university has a policy in place to address travel to West Africa and has implemented protocols to educate our community, identify individuals who may be at risk of exposure, and monitor travelers who have recently been in affected regions, including those who may plan to visit any of Georgetown’s campuses,” Yohe and Welsh wrote in the email.

Yohe and Welsh went on to say that anyone visiting any Georgetown campus from a country with a level 3 Center for Disease Control travel warning (just Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, for now) must be reported directly to Yohe’s office.

Yohe clarified the new procedure in an email to Vox.

“[A]ny actions or requirements would depend on the individualized risk assessment of a given visitor—this includes factors like travel history and time since travel,” Yohe wrote. “Some questions we would ask—per CDC guidelines—include where the person had traveled, if he or she had direct contact with a person with Ebola, and if he or she had been monitoring his/her health.”

“At a minimum we would first ensure that a prospective visitor to campus was adhering to CDC and DC Dept. of Health guidelines. Beyond that, as necessary, we may take additional measures to reduce risk to our community,” Yohe wrote.

Photo: CDC Global via Flickr

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