University restricts travel due to Ebola

By John Ambrosio , News Editors

NYU issued a memorandum on the evening of Oct. 20 notifying the NYU community that travel between the university and Ebola-affected regions will be restricted until further notice.

“It is important to understand that the risk to the NYU community from Ebola is low,” the memorandum read. “However, that does not mean we should not be vigilant and prepared: the safety and well-being of our community is a foremost priority.”

According to the email, NYU is prohibiting students, faculty and staff from traveling for university purposes to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — the three countries most affected by the outbreak.

Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis but, according to the email, meetings with medical staff will be required prior to departure to discuss precautions and protocols for return to the NYU campus. The university is also strongly discouraging travel for personal reasons and hosting visitors from countries with CDC travel warnings.

The university is requiring anyone who has traveled to these countries or been in contact with a person infected with Ebola to contact the Student Health Center before their return to campus.

The Student Health Center has been working with New York City officials to set up protocols for dealing with potential Ebola cases. If a student is deemed to be at risk of having contracted the disease, they would be isolated for further observation, associate vice president for student health Carlo Ciotoli said in an email on Oct. 14.

“The Student Health Center has been in close contact with our colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYU Langone Medical Center to ensure that protocols are in place for the identification, isolation and transfer of any suspected cases,” Ciotoli said.

NYU spokesman John Beckman said the university will be reaching out to students from the affected regions to discuss procedures and any accommodations that need to be made. Beckman added that these travel restrictions will not affect NYU’s study away site in Accra, which has been closed this semester due to concerns over the outbreak.

“There haven’t been any cases in Ghana and the CDC travel advisories do not address Ghana,” Beckman said. “Our expectation is that Ghana will be open for the spring semester.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 21 print edition. Email John Ambrosio at [email protected]