National Higher Education Associations Comment on Public Health Concerns


Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553, rebeccam@nafsa.org
Katie O'Connell, 202.495.2559, katieo@nafsa.org

With recent reports of individual cases of Ebola in the U.S., campuses and states are developing or revising their own policies and protocols to protect others from possible infection. Higher education institutions and leaders also have a vital role to play in educating students and the wider community about the dangers of stigmatizing an entire world region or shunning individuals who are symptom-free or have completed an appropriate monitoring period.

Each institution must formulate policies on international admissions and study/research abroad that make sense in the local context, based on the latest advice from national and local experts. We encourage member institutions to also ensure that their policies do not unnecessarily restrict the welcoming of students and scholars from Africa in an "over-abundance" of caution, or discourage needed assistance to the region by researchers or scholars who are offering to help contain the Ebola epidemic. Our colleges and universities are experienced and well-equipped to handle such health and safety emergencies, as we have done in the past, and to provide leadership beyond the campus to the wider community.

As educators dedicated to promoting and sustaining international academic exchanges, we all can play an important role in sustaining our institutions' global engagement, even while addressing current and future health and safety concerns. Detailed information on Ebola and advice on how to handle this current crisis and other health and safety emergencies, including links to other useful websites like those of the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State can be found on NAFSA's webpages below: