News in brief: Coronavirus update, two off-campus gunpoint robberies

| Senior News Editor

WU bans University-sponsored travel to China in second coronavirus update

The Washington University International Travel Oversight Committee Executive Body enacted a travel restriction for all University-supported trips to mainland China in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, Jan. 29.

Dr. Cheri LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Habif Health and Wellness Center, announced this suspension and confirmed that no cases of the virus have been reported in St. Louis in the second email to the student body regarding the virus, Jan. 30.

The suspension is in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s travel advisories regarding travel to mainland China and does not apply to personal trips.

In the initial email, sent to the University community Jan. 24, LeBlanc urged any students or employees who have traveled to Wuhan, China– where the virus originated– in the last 14 days, to contact Habif. LeBlanc continued this plea in the second email, again asking for students or employees who have traveled to China in the past 14 days to reach out to Habif.

Habif continues to ask that students reporting symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing to call either Habif or the Barnes-Jewish Hospital emergency room to get evaluated, and not to arrive without calling first.

“The situation is changing rapidly, but we will provide updates when new information or guidance needs to be communicated,” LeBlanc wrote.

WUPD reports two weekend robberies

Curran Neenan

Two robberies were reported this past week. Recently, Chancellor Andrew Martin announced more measures to ensure student safety in a student-wide email.

Washington University Police Department alerted students of two robberies at gunpoint within the past week.

These incidents arose weeks after Chancellor Andrew Martin announced to initiate several measures to help improve students’ safety, specifically for those living off-campus. These initiatives included increased policing in surrounding neighborhoods, an expanded shuttle system and a streamlined communication system.

A graduate student was walking in the 400 block of Kingsland Avenue when two perpetrators approached him from behind at approximately 8 p.m. on Jan. 29. One of the subjects brandished a handgun and took the victim’s backpack before the two of them headed south on Kingsland Avenue.

The victim did not report any injuries. The University City Police Department is currently investigating the incident.

A male student was walking towards campus near Dartford St. and North Seminary Terrace Feb. 1. He was struck in the head with a glass bottle by two men at approximately 6:50 p.m. One of the perpetrators demanded the student’s belongings while flashing a handgun before both subjects left the vicinity with his property. The victim reported minor injuries.

WUPD released another security memo, Feb. 2, with the update that the Clayton Police Department arrested three subjects in relation to the robbery, late Feb. 1.

WUPD Police Chief Mark Glenn described the efforts of the University’s new public safety working group, as well as the implementation of a community engagement officer to alleviate concerns.

Glenn continued to remind students to practice safe habits.

“There’s a couple things we like to remind students,” Glenn said. “[One of which] is be alert to your surroundings and know what’s going on around you and trust your instincts, that if something doesn’t feel right, we want them to trust themselves and not try and second guess themselves.”

Additional reporting by Ted Moskal

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