February 28, 2020
Given the continuing spread of the coronavirus globally and expectations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that additional infections are likely across the U.S., I wanted to update the campus on the steps we are continuing to take to help protect our community.
Our leadership, along with the leadership of the University of Nebraska system, public health officials and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, are engaged in conversations to plan for the eventual emergence of the coronavirus in Nebraska. This includes preparing for the additional flexibilities that may be required in our workplace and classrooms to help reduce the spread of the disease while maintaining our critical missions of learning and research. As more information is available, we will share that with our students, faculty and staff.
The most immediate impact has been with respect to international travel for our faculty, staff and students. The U.S. Department of State and the CDC have put a number of travel advisories or warnings in place due to the virus. Based on these advisories, NU policy currently restricts faculty, staff, and student travel to mainland China and South Korea. Travel to Mongolia is also restricted for students. All UNL-sponsored study abroad programs to these locations have been cancelled for Spring and Summer. In addition, we are monitoring a number of other locations in anticipation of possible restrictions. They include Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. We have been in contact with any UNL students currently in these countries.
The list of countries is evolving rapidly. I would encourage faculty, staff, or students with questions or concerns about travel plans or the suspension of academic programs abroad to contact the Education Abroad Office or the Director of Global Safety and Security at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also call 402-472-5358.
I want to reiterate that there are currently no known cases of coronavirus in the state of Nebraska, outside those transported to the containment units at UNMC. If this were to change, we will immediately communicate with our UNL community. Our medical experts remind us that the best methods to prevent contracting coronavirus are the same for other viruses such as handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer, and staying home if you feel ill. The CDC website provides excellent resources for understanding the coronavirus, signs and symptoms and how to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Students who believe they are experiencing symptoms related to coronavirus should contact the University Health Center at 402.472.5000.
We will continue to keep our UNL community updated with additional developments and news to share.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.