Dear students, faculty and staff:
Thank you for your patience as we continue to monitor developments related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, the safety and well-being of our community remains our top priority. The CDC has issued new guidance stating that all colleges and universities should consider postponing or cancelling upcoming foreign travel programs. Now is the time to assess potential risks associated with any travel, including over spring break, and consider amending your plans. You should anticipate travel restrictions that may make you unable to return to campus. We expect all community members to stay informed about developments involving COVID-19, particularly as you plan and engage in travel.
Please take the following into consideration when making your plans:
- Because travel restrictions may change rapidly, we strongly discourage university faculty, staff and students from traveling internationally for work or personal reasons.
- Between now and the end of the spring semester, no university-related international travel will be permitted, unless it is approved by Dr. Richard Plumb, executive vice president and provost.
- Faculty, staff and students planning personal travel (either domestically or internationally) should carefully watch U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of rapidly changing travel restrictions that might prevent them from getting back to campus.
- Any university faculty, staff or student returning from a country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Advisory must self-monitor for 14 days before returning to campus, avoid crowded public places and limit contact with individuals who may be vulnerable.
- Any university faculty, staff or student returning from a country with a CDC Level 2 Travel Advisory must self-monitor for 14 days.
- Self-monitoring means monitoring yourself for symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and fever, taking your temperature twice daily, and contacting your health care provider with any concerns.
- Further information on COVID-19 is available on the Health Services webpage.
Please be aware that our plan is to continue all instruction under the current academic calendar. University leadership and faculty are actively planning for how courses might be offered in an alternative manner in case future developments were to necessitate temporary partial or complete closure of campus.
In closing, I would like to reiterate two important points:
- Any university faculty, staff or student who feels sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home and contact their primary care provider.
- Our Center for Well-Being has previously communicated this – Moments like these often involve a degree of fear and uncertainty, which makes it critical that we, as a university community, hold true to our core values such as sympathy for the victims of the virus, and for those affected by ancillary actions such as the travel ban. We have a duty to be aware and support those who are affected by this event, no matter how large or small those disruptions. Second, it is important that fear never be turned toward individuals or groups based on race, country of origin or other factors. We have a special responsibility to those who are far from home, who are concerned for loved ones who may be at risk, and who may be the least likely to have a local network of support. It is moments such as these in which it is incumbent for the entire University of St. Thomas community to remember that we are a community as a whole, and we have a duty to support each and every member of the university.
Richard Plumb, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost