Editor's note: The university's incoming mail that was held the
last week of October -- after the discovery of a very small amount of
anthrax at the main Princeton post office in West Windsor -- is no longer
on hold, as of Tuesday, Nov. 6. The United States Postal Service has determined
that there is no need to decontaminate this mail. The post office building
on Roszel Road in West Windsor reopened to the public on Monday, Nov.
Nov. 2 update issued on safety and security measures
The following memo was sent to all students, faculty
and staff on Nov. 2 from Vice President for Finance and Administration
Richard Spies, who chairs the University's emergency response and emergency
preparedness task forces.
Earlier this week, an e-mail was distributed to all students, faculty
and staff encouraging them to regularly check the University
home page, the crisis
response Web site and the Web site of the emergency
preparedness task force for frequently updated information on steps
being taken to address concerns about recent developments regarding anthrax
and other possible terrorist threats. This email summarizes some of the
steps that have been taken and refers you to other helpful information.
Please continue to check these three Web sites regularly.
- The main Princeton post office in West Windsor remains closed, and
testing of the site is continuing. In addition to the initial finding
of a small amount of anthrax in a mail bin, one additional sample at
the site produced a positive result. Additional samples have been taken
at the West Windsor facility and the results are now being analyzed.
In the meantime, the post office has established temporary facilities
and is now delivering mail that never circulated through the closed
facility. Trained University mail handlers are sorting and delivering
this new mail, but any mail that arrived in bulk before October 29 is
still being held out of the delivery process.
- More than 300 members of the University community have participated
in mail handling training sessions. Participation has been required
for staff members who handle mail in bins, bags or other bulk containers.
Three more training
sessions have been scheduled to take place in Frist 302 at noon Tuesday,
Nov. 6; noon Wednesday, Nov. 7; and noon Friday, Nov. 9.
- Only full-time and permanent part-time employees who have received
training may distribute bulk mail. Other part-time employees, including
students, may not engage in mail distribution at least through November
9. This policy has been adopted to be sure that mail handling is done
safely and in a well-supervised manner. Exceptions will be made only
in cases where training has taken place and proper supervision can be
assured. If you are a supervisor and have questions regarding exceptions,
please contact your Human Resources region manager.
- Individual recipients of mail should continue to review the updated
opening mail and exercise caution. The basic guidelines are to be alert
for anything suspicious, open mail away from your face, and wash your
hands with soap and flowing water after handling mail. If you have cuts
on your hands, it may be prudent to wear gloves.
- The advice we have received from state officials is that the risk
of University mail being contaminated is very small. They have advised
against testing campus mailrooms or providing preventative treatment
(antibiotics) to healthy members of the University community. The Emergency
Preparedness Task Force is in frequent contact with state officials
and other experts for the most up-to-date guidance.
- Students, faculty and staff can assist during these challenging times
by being patient with delays in mail delivery and by reducing the amount
of mail being generated. Please communicate electronically whenever
- The Admission Office has announced
that it plans to be flexible with respect to the Nov. 1 deadline for
early admission applications .
- All members of the University community are advised to be attentive
to changes in their personal health. Students with skin ulcerations
or rashes or “flu-like”
symptoms -- fever, chills, cough, headache, difficulty breathing,
muscle ache -- should seek medical evaluation at McCosh Health Center;
faculty or staff with such symptoms should consult their personal physicians.
- The University is providing free flu shots to all interested students,
faculty and staff. A walk-in clinic
is being held 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in Frist.
Emergency Preparedness Task Force is holding daily meetings to assess
the latest developments both on and off campus.
- Security in lab areas has been tightened. There is no research involving
anthrax at Princeton University.
mail or activity on campus should be reported immediately to Public
Safety by calling 911.
- This is an especially important time to avoid pranks, hoaxes or inadvertent
causes for alarm. Please review the University policy
on pranks and hoaxes and please clean up all spills that you may have
- As reported earlier, tests of the powdery substance found in Frist
on October 22 were negative, which means no anthrax was detected.
Please continue to check the websites listed above, including the Frequently
Asked Questions, for additional and updated information. The special
response number also continues to be available at 258-7700.