The Catholic University Of America
Office of the President
Washington, D.C. 20064
October 24, 2001
Dear parents and friends of The Catholic University of America:
Given the overwhelming attention being devoted by the media to the anthrax threat uncovered at the main mail processing facility in Washington, D.C., I am writing to inform you how this off-campus situation is affecting us and how we are responding to it.
Catholic University receives its mail from the main mail-processing facility located on Brentwood Road. In the wake of recent instances of employees at the Brentwood facility contracting anthrax, the university has taken precautionary measures to ensure that our employees who handle mail are not at risk themselves.
It is important to stress that we have no evidence to suggest that any of our students are in danger. The university does not wish to create undue alarm or panic on campus or among parents. The only responsible course we can follow is to base our actions on evidence. To that end, we are and will continue to be in touch with local authorities. If we have even the slightest indication that our students have been placed in harm’s way due to anthrax or any other terrorist threat, we will immediately take all necessary measures to respond to the situation.
We have no evidence that any of the university’s postal employees on campus have been exposed to anthrax. None of them goes to the affected Brentwood Road facility in the course of their work. Nevertheless, the university is taking all prudent measures to ensure their safety and well-being.
A U.S. Postal Service representative informed Catholic University yesterday that its on-campus post office was being included in a list of three dozen neighborhood post offices whose employees were to be voluntarily interviewed for a brief medical history, given information about anthrax and antibiotic treatment, and receive a prophylactic 10-day supply of antibiotics. Catholic University’s postal employees were advised of this and encouraged, along with thousands of U.S. Postal Service employees, to go to D.C. General Hospital today to receive their supply of antibiotics. They did so. The university will continue to coordinate its actions closely with the U.S. Postal Service and public health officials on this matter.
The closing of the Brentwood facility has caused logistical problems for processing incoming mail to CUA, but we expect service to resume soon.
Very Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.