March 11, 2020 - Important update on COVID-19 

Dear University Community,

Though I have recently communicated updates on our efforts to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) on our campus, the situation continues to evolve daily and brings with it new considerations for review, analysis and action. I have established a standing Executive Policy Group that meets regularly to assess these developments and determine the most appropriate course of action to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our campus community. We have also held a pandemic response workshop to better prepare for this emergent situation.

Below are a number of updates to our policies and procedures. Please review these important updates as they are timely and may affect your upcoming travel plans. 

Instructional Continuity: Though the university is operating under normal conditions at this time, our shared goal is to ensure the continuity of our academic mission in the event of a campus closure due to an emergency. To support this goal, the university is requiring all faculty to upload their syllabi and publish all of their courses in Canvas (instructions) by March 18 and to set up Zoom video conference accounts (instructions), if they have not done so already. A number of resources have already been developed, such as our Keep Teaching website, to enable faculty to move instruction to the online environment if necessary. Deans and department chairs will be contacting faculty to make sure these important steps are taken.

New Travel Prohibitions: Upon consultation with the UM System Emergency Manager and as recommended by our designated Student Health Officer, the executive policy group and chancellor have approved expanded travel restrictions. Effective immediately, all university-related travel to France, Germany, Spain as well as the states of California, New York and Washington, is prohibited until further notice. This is in addition to current travel restrictions to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. These decisions are based on the number of confirmed cases that continue to rise both domestically and abroad regardless of the area’s formal CDC warning/alert level status.    

Travel Registration: UMSL is now requiring all students and employees to register their university-related domestic and international travel, regardless of whether there is an active travel prohibition associated with their destination. Please visit the appropriate link to register: student international travel, employee international travel, or employee and student domestic travel. Although not required, we strongly recommend that students and employees register their personal domestic and international travel as well. In doing so, we will better be able to contact you should a change in travel health notices affect your stay or return.

Campus Restrictions: Out of respect for your health as well as the health of our students, faculty and staff any students, employees or visitors who visit a destination with a travel prohibition (directly or in transit) will be restricted from returning to campus for a period of 14 days upon return. The university will make every effort to ensure that students may continue their studies and employees may continue their service through

Campus Events: The Executive Policy Group is reviewing all special events occurring in university facilities on a weekly basis and will communicate with event organizers should an event need to be modified, canceled or postponed. For example, the university will continue to hold this weekend’s UMSL Day Open House. However, the event format is being modified to reduce the need for mass gatherings and instead allow for social distancing. Among the changes, UMSL Day activities will now be dispersed across venues and academic buildings on North Campus as opposed to being centralized in a single venue; registration will be spread over multiple tables with the opportunity for online check in; only walking tours will be offered; and academic tabling will be spread out across campus.

Thank you for your continued understanding as we make decisions to proactively support the health, safety and well-being of our community. As always, we will continue to communicate timely information as the situation evolves and encourage everyone to visit the university’s COVID-19 website for additional information.

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