Office of the President

Fri, Mar 6, 11:45 AM

Dear F&M Community,

Like many other colleges and universities, Franklin & Marshall is monitoring the evolving impact of  COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus. During this challenging time, it is important to take appropriate steps to safeguard our community and support one another, while at the same time remaining empathetic to the global impact of this public health crisis. As news about the virus rapidly changes, I encourage you to regularly review our dedicated webpage for campus information, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the latest information. Going forward, and as we balance caution with practicality, I ask for your assistance and cooperation.

Per guidance issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the consensus regarding the COVID-19 virus is that the immediate health risk for the United States is low. However, we recognize that the global situation is unpredictable and that it is likely that widespread transmission of the virus will occur in the U.S. 

With the best interests and safety of the F&M community in mind, and in alignment with guidance from government sources, the College has thus determined the following:

College-sponsored travel

The CDC recommends avoidance of non-essential travel to areas designated with a CDC-Level 3 warning. Consistent with that guidance, any College-sponsored travel for faculty, professional staff, and students to areas designated as CDC Level 3 is prohibited until further notice. Presently, the list of countries with such designations  includes China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. 

As of March 6, 100 F&M students remain studying abroad, all through affiliated program providers and host universities. Per guidance issued by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the College is actively reviewing the safety and efficacy of those programs, as well as programs planned for summer 2020, in light of concerns such as access to health care and travel restrictions. Following CDC and U.S. Department of State guidance issued last week, five of our students who were studying in Italy have returned home. 

Spring Break (March 13 – March 22)

While greatly respecting the privacy of all members of our community, we request that students, faculty and professional staff who are traveling away from their home or campus address (either internationally or domestically) for personal or professional reasons in the coming weeks voluntarily register their plans with the College using this simple form. This step of registering your plans will allow us to be as prepared as possible should circumstances change  or if we receive further guidance from government authorities. This information will be held in confidence to the maximum extent possible.

At present, and subject to ongoing assessment, department-sponsored domestic travel over spring break, including travel for athletic teams, is proceeding as scheduled. International travel has been cancelled.

If personal travel plans have been impacted by recent events, students are welcome to stay on campus during spring break, which begins March 13.  However, you are required to register here as soon as possible.

For Students:

Students who are returning or have returned within the last two weeks to the U.S. from any locations assessed by the CDC with Level 3 Travel Health Notices, must take the following steps:

  • Contact the Student Wellness Center (717-544-9051) upon your arrival in the States to review recent travel history and any current symptoms
  • Self-quarantine and practice social distancing for 14 days before returning to campus
  • Seek medical care for any symptoms including fever, cough and/or trouble breathing
  • At the conclusion of this two-week period, and before returning to campus, contact the Student Wellness Center to review health status and receive approval to return

During the 14-day self-monitoring period, faculty and staff will engage with students regarding their academic work, including those who need to complete it remotely. 

Students who are returning from a study abroad program should complete their online/program coursework from home per instructions from the study abroad program provider, and in collaboration with the Office of International Programs, and not return to campus. The F&M campus will, unfortunately, not be available to accommodate you as appropriate residential facilities are not available, and your return to campus, however well-intended, may require significant health and safety measures that the College cannot undertake. The College regrets these circumstances, and trusts you understand the unique nature of the challenges presented by the current situation.

For Faculty and Professional Staff:

College employees returning from CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice areas must self-quarantine for 14 days away from campus, as recommended by government agencies.

If you are traveling for F&M and are unable to come back to campus as scheduled, either because of being subject to quarantine or because of a requirement to monitor symptoms at home for 14 days, please engage with your supervisor to address ongoing work. We may ask that you work from your location depending on the situation. Should you have concerns about work-related travel, please contact your supervisor. 

We encourage you to contact your health provider if you experience a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms. Please ask, and follow their recommendations, regarding whether you should come to work or stay home. 

Please do not hesitate to contact Human Resources at 717-358-3995 with any questions or concerns. 

Our Community

We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak can cause worry and fear and that this is a challenging and uncertain time.  Please regularly refer to our dedicated webpage and the other resources described above. Students who may be experiencing stress or anxiety over COVID-19 should take advantage of the Student Wellness Center’s Counseling Services Office; faculty and staff are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program for any needed professional support.

Thanks to all of you for your continued patience and understanding as we actively address this evolving situation. With your help and support of one another, I know that we will be able to navigate any challenges that lie ahead.

Barbara Altmann
Barbara K. Altmann, Ph.D. President and Professor of French
Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster, PA