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Message to the University Community (Released: 11/28/01)

From Chancellor John Petersen

The FBI and the State Police, in cooperation with the UConn Police, earlier today (Tuesday, November 27) began an anthrax-related investigation at the Pathobiology Building. The investigation has focused on two vials of material that were located in the building and were taken to the State Department of Public Health for testing. It is believed that the vials contained anthrax samples that were frozen and sealed.

As a safety precaution, the Pathobiology Building was evacuated at about 3:30 p.m. So far, there is no indication of contamination in the building. The building is being tested thoroughly and will remain closed until we are assured that it is free from pathogens.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our paramount concerns and for that reason, we have acted in the most conservative manner. We have already contacted officials at the State Department of Public Health and the National Center for Disease Control. They are helping us to evaluate the situation and will be providing the University with health-related advice for students, faculty and staff who have been in the Pathobiology Building. We will share additional information with you on Wednesday. In the meantime, information about anthrax is available at the CDC's web site http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/anthrax.asp

While we await further guidance from public health officials, any student, faculty or staff member who has health-related questions or concerns should contact the University's Health Services Office at 486- 4700.

Until we are assured that it is safe to reopen the Pathobiology Building, it will remain closed. Only classes scheduled in this building for Wednesday, Nov. 28 have been cancelled. Classes scheduled in this building for Thursday, Nov. 29 will be relocated and that information will be communicated to you on Wednesday via email. All other classes will take place as scheduled.

Faculty and staff who work in the Pathobiology Building should not report to work on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Additional information about work schedules and locations for the remainder of the week will be communicated to you as soon as decisions are made.

In the days since Sept. 11, we have all been called upon to demonstrate resilience, patience and fortitude. This, unfortunately, is yet another of those times. I appreciate your cooperation and assistance in this matter and will keep you apprised of information as soon as it becomes available.

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