Update: Coronavirus Impacts on Student/Employee Travel, Etc.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Given the identification of a presumptive-positive coronavirus patient in NC earlier today and the increase in campus and public attention on the matter, we wanted to share with you the university-related updates available at this point.

Over the weekend, we suspended our current education-abroad program in Italy. Those students are returning to the U.S. as soon as possible, and will be self-quarantined off-campus for 14 days following their return. Based on the latest information available to us and in consultation with health authorities and higher education peers, we have now canceled all spring break programs in Europe. We have notified the students affected and are working on finalizing program fee and travel refunds as applicable. These are not easy decisions, and we understand the distress they cause for our students and faculty. We are doing the best we can to make the decisions that will protect our community as a whole, but we know that doesn’t lessen the disappointment at all. We regret that very much.

Students who have concerns about spring-semester study abroad programs in locations outside of Europe should contact the Office of International Programs. It is too early for us to make any decisions about summer programs abroad, but we will share any decisions as soon as they are made.

There are still no restrictions in place regarding personal, non-university travel to countries outside of those with Warning Level 3 designations, as determined by the CDC. However, as of today, the university cannot sponsor, support or fund any university-related travel to Warning Level 3 areas. We are sorry for the impact this may have on your studies or your work, but we believe we had to make this decision in order to best serve our community. Details for reimbursement procedures, as applicable, will be shared as soon as possible with those who have already paid for university travel to Warning Level 3 areas.

Those employees or students who choose to travel to a Warning Level 3 area (or an area that is elevated to a Warning Level 3 status during your stay there) will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to the U.S. We are not able to safely or effectively execute quarantines on our campus, so employees and students will be required to stay off campus for their 14 days of self-quarantine. Please contact the Student Health Center for details on what a self-quarantine involves.

If you experience these symptoms during or after any international travel, please notify the Student Health Center immediately by calling 910.962-3280. As always, students who are not feeling well can make appointments to be seen at the Student Health Center by calling 910.962-3280. Walk-ins will be scheduled for the next available appointments. Faculty and staff who are not feeling well should see their health care providers, but should also notify the Student Health Center in the event of these symptoms.

It’s critical that you continue to practice basic precautions to protect yourself from the (more-common) flu virus -- the same precautions recommended to help you avoid the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

A list of additional preventive actions can be found on the Student Health Center’s dedicated coronavirus website. The site also features reliable sources for the latest coronavirus information and a curation of all campus updates on the situation.

We will continue to do our best to protect, inform and support our students and employees as this situation evolves. Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding during these difficult circumstances.