This morning, the Board of Regents sent this message to its campuses as well as media:
"Safety of our campus communities is a paramount concern for the Board of Regents. Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Education recommends institutions 'should consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange program.'
Based on this most recent guidance from the CDC and IDPH, as well as the quickly evolving impact of the COVID-19, the Board of Regents is cancelling all university-sponsored international travel for all faculty, staff and students for 30 days (including spring break) effective immediately.
Our recommendations and guidance will be regularly evaluated with university leadership. Updates to the guidance will be provided as the situation evolves.
We recognize this decision may be disappointing to many in our community. These types of trips provide remarkable opportunities for learning and growth. This decision has not been an easy one; however, we are prioritizing the health and safety of all individuals.
For those faculty, staff and students that are already out of the country, we will recall students, faculty and staff from any country that the CDC designates a Level 3. Our guidance may change the level depending on how the situation evolves."
Although the decision to temporarily cancel international travel may be disappointing, we agree it is in the best interests of our campus at this time. We will work closely with the students, faculty and staff impacted, and will continue to communicate as the situation evolves.
We also know this decision brings a multitude of questions and emotions. But one of the most important things to remember is to maintain patience and understanding, as well as respect for our inclusive values. Please demonstrate respectful behavior to all members of our community, especially to those whose country is impacted by the virus.
We will not tolerate discriminatory or demeaning behavior toward others, and we expect increased compassion and care. If you witness this negative behavior, please report it immediately to the Office of Compliance and Equity Management.
Additionally, questions about study abroad programs can be sent to the Office of International Programs at email@example.com or 319-273-6807.
Questions about student health can be directed to the Student Health Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-273-2009.
Faculty questions can be sent to John Vallentine at email@example.com.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience.
Mark A. Nook