The emergence of the novel coronavirus in China and its spread to other parts of the world has generated a great deal of news and questions over the last few weeks. This situation has been evolving rapidly, and university leaders have been working closely with public health officials and the University of Nebraska Medical Center to monitor developments that might impact the health and safety of members of our campus community.
I want to especially speak to the members of our university community from China who may be concerned for the safety of family and friends. We understand this is a very difficult time to be away from loved ones, and your UNL family is here to support you as our students, faculty and staff.
Tuesday's Nebraska Today article and the University Health Center’s Coronavirus Q&A provide important information that I encourage you to read if you have not already done so. I want to share an update here on additional precautions, plans and decisions based on what we know of the situation today.
There are currently no known cases of coronavirus in the state of Nebraska. If this were to change, we will immediately communicate with our UNL community. In order to stay healthy, we encourage everyone to practice good hygiene and virus prevention protocols — such as handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer, and use of a mask for individuals with a cough. Our medical experts remind us that these steps are effective both in containment of influenza and the prevention of coronavirus. Students who believe they are experiencing symptoms related to coronavirus should contact the University Health Center at 402.472.5000.
Based on the current CDC advisory level for China, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has suspended education abroad programs in China for the 2020 spring semester. This decision affects only a limited number of students. The university is in contact with those students and will work with them to adjust their academic plans for the semester. A decision regarding the continuation of education abroad programs for summer will be made at a later date.
Based on the current CDC advisory level for China, faculty and staff travel to China is restricted. Prior to travel commencement, special permission must be requested as outlined in Executive Memorandum No. 25. Before faculty or staff begin this process, we encourage them to carefully review the U.S. State Department and CDC advisories for China in order to make an informed decision.
Faculty, staff, or students with questions or concerns about travel plans or the suspension of academic programs in China should contact the Office of Global Safety and Security at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402.472.2236.
The Centers for Disease Control reminds us that the risk for this virus in the U.S. remains low. Thank you for your careful attention and for your efforts in protecting your own health and that of your colleagues, friends and our entire community. We will continue to keep you updated with any additional information as needed.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.