February 28, 2020
Dear Campus Community:
As spring break approaches, we are writing to provide an update regarding the coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) outbreak and to share additional guidance on international travel.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, and for the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low.
We will continue to monitor developments relating to COVID-19 and provide regular updates on the situation. Over the last few weeks, regular conversations have occurred in the President’s senior leadership team, the threat assessment team, the enterprise risk management council, and the international travel oversight committee. Just recently, a university wide task force has been developed to provide a more structured framework around the University’s planning and response to the COVID-19 virus. The University will be combining resources onto a single web page next week which will be shared once finalized.
On January 31, UNI issued a temporary moratorium on all university-sponsored travel for students, faculty and staff to China after the U.S. State Department warned against non-essential travel to China. Today, we are adding South Korea to this temporary moratorium based on the U.S. State Department elevating its travel advisory to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) on February 26. We are in contact with UNI community members currently in South Korea and are assisting them in making arrangements to return to the United States.
While UNI has not prohibited university-sponsored travel to any country other than China and South Korea due to COVID-19, the situation continues to evolve quickly. The CDC has recently elevated the advisory level for Italy (Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions) and Japan (Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions).
We urge campus community members to stay informed and abide by U.S. government guidance from the CDC and the State Department prior to and during your trip. In particular, we encourage you to exercise caution in traveling to any country with a Level 2 travel advisory and to reconsider travel to any country with a Level 3 travel advisory.
Once the website is established, we will share the URL with the university community and will encourage everyone to stay apprised of the latest developments.