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Eastern Michigan University students who have traveled to Italy are being told to self-quarantine

Posted at 12:57 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 12:57:53-05

At least 10 Eastern Michigan University students are reportedly self-quarantined after returning from a trip to Italy.

The group returned on Sunday and an email obtained by 7 Action News said two of the residential students had symptoms, but tested negative for the novel Coronavirus.

There are concerns on campus about the university's response and why students were even allowed back on campus.

"There's a lot of angry feelings and fear," an employee with the housing department said. "A lot of questions that professional staff members could not answer."

The university said the students who traveled to Italy were offered an dorm room on an isolated floor if they could not return home.

"There's already people they interacted with and came into contact with," said the anonymous housing employee. "So, that's another sense of concern. I understand the need for confidential but I think with this being a global outbreak we have to be honest."

A spokesperson said none of the students are currently on campus. The university also said they contacted the students after new guidance came from the Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday.

An email explaining the current procedure was sent out in an email to the entire campus community.

Students, faculty and staff:

Today the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance for people who visited countries designated as Level Three due to Coronavirus. Under the new guidance, individuals returning from Level Three countries, even if showing no symptoms of the illness, are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from that country. For Eastern Michigan University, this change is relevant to our students and instructors who recently returned from Italy. The earlier guidance was to self-monitor and resume normal activities as long as an individual was without symptoms. Today the guidance for those same individuals is to self-quarantine. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, instructors and students returning from Italy must now self-quarantine for 14 days after their return from the country. Eastern will follow this directive with regard to any other trip -- all members of our University community returning from a country designated as Level Three or higher due to the Coronavirus must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return.

According to the CDC: "Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease." The students and instructors returning from Italy are being notified of this change today and can return to campus on Sunday, March 15 as long as they show no symptoms of the illness.

As we have indicated from the outset, information and guidance surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus is fluid and is changing rapidly. In some cases, such as this, CDC guidance changes overnight. Our team continues to be in close contact with the Washtenaw County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and we are closely monitoring all available federal, state and local information and updates regarding Coronavirus.

As a reminder, there are no reported cases at Eastern or in Michigan at this time. We are taking these precautions to ensure the continued health, safety and well being of our students, faculty and staff. Normal University operations continue, and there are no current plans to cancel main campus classes.

The University remains committed to sharing information with our campus community in a timely way to ensure the safety and well being of everyone on our campus and community. Further information and resources can be found at Eastern's Coronavirus information website.

The CDC's Travel Health Notices are posted on its website.

The Eastern Michigan team monitoring this ongoing and evolving situation includes the Office of the President, the Provost's office, the Dean of Students, and Academic Programs Abroad, among others. The University will continue to closely follow all advisories and guidance and advise the campus community as necessary.