Policy on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Consistent with current guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), St. Olaf College has established the following policies regarding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS):

Campus Community

We want to assure the members of the campus community that we are following the guidelines from the CDC, WHO, Minnesota Department of Health, and local health officials to protect the health of faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

In accordance with good public health practices, no one should attend public campus events, including classes, commencement, athletic events, concerts, etc., with a fever or acute illness. It is especially important that faculty, staff, students, and visitors from SARS-affected areas seek medical treatment as soon as possible if they develop the symptoms identified on the CDC’s website.

The College will include information about SARS to students who come to campus from overseas and at all international and off-campus travel orientation sessions. Students will be provided information on how to access community health care resources should they become ill.

In the event of an individual presenting symptoms of the disease, procedures are also in place for appropriate college officials to work with local medical providers for immediate reporting, diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Visitors to the College

At this time, St. Olaf does not plan to restrict visitors or students from SARS-affected areas from coming to our campus. The CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing classes, meetings or other gatherings that would include those traveling to the United States from areas with SARS. Importantly, the CDC does not recommend quarantine of persons arriving from areas with SARS. People traveling from areas with SARS are being screened before they leave those countries, and travel visas are restricted for those with symptoms. In addition, U.S. health authorities distribute health alert notices to travelers arriving in the U.S. from areas with SARS, to notify them of the importance of monitoring their health closely for a period of 10 days following departure, and for persons who develop fever or respiratory symptoms, the need to promptly seek medical evaluation. Thus, re-screening persons without symptoms as they arrive on campus is not recommended.

College-Related or Funded Travel

St. Olaf will not authorize or fund travel for its faculty, staff, or students to SARS-affected areas under CDC travel advisories. Travel advisories specifically recommend against all non-essential travel to areas where the outbreak is occurring. The CDC considers risk in these areas to be much higher because of community transmission, inadequate containment procedures or inability of local medical personnel or medical facilities to handle medical problems. Travel advisories are updated daily and change frequently, and can be found at the following websites: CDC and WHO.

Continued Monitoring

Although many questions about SARS remain unanswered, St. Olaf continues to monitor the rapidly changing information, and how the campus should respond should new threats to the health of our campus community arise. The websites mentioned previously are the best sources of up-to-date information, and if you have questions or concerns, we suggest that you check these sources frequently, and talk to your health care provider about specific risks that you might face.

Updated June, 2003