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SARS Precautions for Commencement

May 12, 2003

We want to bring you up to date on our planning regarding SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and its potential impact on Commencement.

First, let me emphasize that there are no suspected cases of SARS at Peabody or the rest of Johns Hopkins. The most up-to-date information regarding this epidemic continues to be found at the following web sites:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC
  • World Health Organization, or WHO
  • Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Many SARS-affected countries (currently mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) are screening passengers before they leave the country. Those individuals who have any symptoms are not being permitted to leave. At airports in the United States, arriving passengers from these countries are being screened again for SARS symptoms. They are also receiving cards prepared by the CDC detailing symptoms suggestive of SARS and instructions for contacting a physician should they become ill while in the United States.

    We understand and appreciate the importance of Commencement to students and their families. Our primary goal, however, must be the protection of the health of our university community.

    Therefore, we strongly urge that any visitor from a SARS-affected country (as of this writing, mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong) NOT ATTEND Commencement ceremonies or related activities if he or she develops any of the following symptoms or has had direct contact with anyone exhibiting these symptoms within 10 days of the ceremony:

  • Fever greater than 38.0 degrees C (100.4 degrees F) or
  • Cough or
  • Shortness of breath or
  • Difficulty breathing or
  • Headache or
  • Muscle aches
  • We ask students, their families and guests to err on the side of caution.

    If there is any doubt about the presence of any symptom in a guest who has traveled here from a SARS-related country or if the potential exists that he or she has been directly exposed to SARS, he or she should not attend Commencement or other public events.

    If a guest from a SARS-affected country becomes ill during the university-wide Commencement ceremony at Homewood Field on the morning of May 22, he or she should go immediately to the physician station at the western end of Homewood Field near the scoreboard. At this station, the guest will be directed to the appropriate medical facility.

    If a guest from a SARS-affected country becomes ill during the Peabody ceremony on the evening of May 22, he or she should go immediately to Mercy Medical Center at 301 St. Paul Place.

    Some students have asked whether the university has placed restrictions on travel to SARS-affected countries. We continue to recommend strongly that students, faculty and staff follow the travel advisories issued by the CDC.

    As of May 6, the CDC has issued travel advisories for mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and recommends that individuals postpone non-essential travel to these countries. Travel advisories for Vietnam, Singapore, and for Toronto, Canada, have been lifted. The CDC and WHO web sites update their travel advice almost daily. Students should consult these web sites for the very latest information.


    Emily F. Frank
    Associate Dean Student for Student Affairs
    Peabody Conservatory of Music
    1 E. Mt. Vernon Place
    Baltimore MD 21202
    Phone: 410-659-8100, extension 3070
    Fax: 410-783-6604

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