March 9, 2020 - Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Dear University Community,

Since early January, university officials have been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation regularly, offering guidance from the CDC and regular updates. We will continue this practice and encourage you to visit our campus website for updated information.

With the virus now established in the U.S., including Missouri’s first confirmed case, and with spring break and other major holidays coming up shortly, we want to provide additional resources for our university community. At this time, please know that there are no reported COVID-19 cases on the UMSL campus.

As shared previously, UMSL is prohibiting university-sponsored travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, which are CDC Warning Level 3 countries. Additionally, we are limiting travel to Japan on a case-by-case basis given its ongoing CDC Alert Level 2 status. More travel restrictions are expected should federal agencies post travel health notices for additional countries.

If you are considering international travel this spring for professional (study abroad, research, conferences, etc.) or personal purposes, we highly encourage you to check both U.S. Department of State travel advisories and the CDC travel website to find updated guidance for your destination as well as for those countries you may visit in transit. Student and employee registration is required for any university-related travel outside of the United States. Please view our student registration and faculty/staff registration pages for details. Although not required, we also recommend that students and employees register their personal travel outside of the U.S.

Depending on your destination, you may have to make difficult decisions to change or even cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to St. Louis. On a case-by-case basis, the university may ask students or employees to avoid coming to campus for a period of two weeks to self-monitor upon return from travel to high-risk areas including CDC Level 2 and 3 countries. If trip cancellation insurance is available for purchase, you may want to consider purchasing it in the event that a last-minute cancellation is necessary. If traveling abroad, you should also allow additional time for airport screening measures, which could include temperature checks and questionnaires.

Do not travel if you are sick as you may risk additional screening measures, potential entry denial and quarantine. Additionally, anyone who is sick risks spreading germs and infection to others. The CDC answers other common travel-related questions We encourage our entire community to continue to be vigilant and minimize risk. While there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 at this time, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask, which does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Lastly, the CDC advises people who have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms to stay home and call your primary healthcare provider for direction. Calling first is an important guideline so those with the virus do not infect others.

Faculty and staff are asked to share these preventative measures by downloading, printing and posting the attached COVID-19 Prevention Guide in your offices, labs, residence halls and other shared spaces as appropriate. This resource is provided by the Mount Sinai Health System, which also offers a COVID-19 FAQs document that you may find helpful. We are also asking faculty to visit our Keep Teaching website to review available resources that will ensure the continuity of our academic mission in the event of a campus closer due to an emergency.

Our thoughts are with the students, faculty and staff who have ties to all of the regions affected by this situation. We will continue to monitor coronavirus developments both at home and abroad and keep you up to date through both email and our campus website.

Sincerely,

Kristin Sobolik
Interim Chancellor and Provost

 

Additional Resources

Student health services: Health Services – 314-516-5671

Student services and support: Student Affairs – 314-516-5211

International student services/study abroad: UMSL Global – 314-516-5753

Questions regarding university-sponsored travel: Faculty: Academic Affairs – 314-516-5371, Staff: Human Resources – 314-516-5805

Equal employment/educational opportunity: Human Resources – 314-516-4538

Guideline on student or other participant international travel or study abroad: CRR 210.070

Faculty and staff insurance for authorized international business travel

Human Resources Manual Virus-Related Outbreak Concerns

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) international travel alert program