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Letter to MIT community regarding Ebola precautions and preparedness

The following email was sent to the MIT community today by Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Provost Martin Schmidt, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz, and Vice President for Research Maria T. Zuber.

To members of the MIT community,

As the Ebola outbreak continues to affect Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, we want to provide guidance to the MIT community regarding travel precautions, and also describe preparedness measures we are taking.

Travelling to Affected Areas

Travel to these countries is considered high-risk by the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is strongly discouraged. Individuals who become ill with fever while in one of the three affected countries are not permitted to travel from these countries, and medical evacuation may not be possible.

We are especially concerned about members of our community who may have family members in the affected areas, and recognize that some individuals may be hoping to visit as the holiday season approaches. We are reaching out to students and staff members from these areas to provide guidance and support, as we have done since this past summer.

Any students, faculty or staff choosing to travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea must adhere to the MIT Travel Risk Policy and complete a travel form. Travel forms for faculty and staff and for undergraduate and graduate students are submitted to the appropriate Department Heads and Laboratory Directors. We are asking that Department Heads and Laboratory Directors notify the Office of Insurance of individuals known to be travelling to affected areas.

If cases arise where Individuals must travel to these countries, travellers are asked to contact Dr. Howard Heller of MIT Medical before travelling, and again before returning to Cambridge regardless of whether the travel is MIT-related.

Visitors from Affected Areas

If members of the community are hosting visitors from the affected countries, we ask that you notify Dr. Heller about visitors so that MIT Medical can be available for assistance as needed.


MIT is working with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to maintain a continuous understanding of preparedness activities across the Commonwealth, as well as efforts within the health care and first responder communities. We are also receiving ongoing updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health about the Ebola virus.

We continue to monitor the evolving situation abroad and in the US, and will provide additional updates as needed.

Cynthia Barnhart, Chancellor
Martin A. Schmidt, Provost
Israel Ruiz, Executive Vice President and Treasurer
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research

Learn more: Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Procedures for travelers from affected areas.

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