I am writing to inform you of additional precautionary steps the MBL is taking in light of the evolution of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We continue to rely on guidance from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as well as the University of Chicago.
Incidents in Massachusetts are increasing, and today Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth, giving the administration more flexibility to respond to the outbreak. In coordination with the University of Chicago, the MBL is enacting new travel restrictions and measures to reduce contacts that could aid the spread of the virus.
- The MBL is suspending all non-essential work-related international and domestic air travel effective immediately through April 15. Essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are absolutely necessary, cannot be rescheduled, and must be done in person. Individuals may petition the Director of Research, Director Education, COO or Chief Advancement Officer regarding travel.We continue to strongly advise against personal international air travel given the very fluid situation and remind staff that the MBL will not be in a position to help those who get stranded overseas. Similarly, we advise caution in personal domestic air travel as well. We ask all staff who will be traveling on personal business to complete this simple form with information about their trip. This will help the MBL work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the event a staff member becomes sick.
- The MBL is suspending all MBL-sponsored events and gatherings of more than 100 people effective immediately through April 15. This will impact the upcoming Falmouth Forum among other activities.
- The MBL is cancelling all scheduled school and organizational tours through May 31.
Our primary focus remains on the health and well-being of MBL staff. To that end, Human Resources has developed important information for staff. A short summary is available on the MBL Coronavirus website and more detailed, policy-oriented information is available in the Human Resources section of the MBL Intranet. Please take time to review this information and contact Human Resources Department team members at email@example.com; 508-289-7422 with any questions.
As previously discussed, I encourage you to stay informed and make sure that you are aware and following the guidelines outlined by the CDC and MA DPH. We ask that members of our community continue to support each other, avoid uninformed assumptions, and base your decisions about travel and health precautions on the best available information. Anyone who is ill or thinks they may be ill should stay home from work and seek medical care, as necessary.
Paul Speer PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Marine Biological Laboratory