Dear University Community,
As news about the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread around the globe, we want to share with you some campus updates and important information to help you stay safe and support others. Earlier this week, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that clusters of infection are likely in the U.S. Already hotspots have arisen in China, South Korea and other countries around the world.
While we know this new virus is concerning, it’s important to note that, at this time, Missouri has no confirmed COVID-19 cases. We are taking proactive measures in order to mitigate this emerging public health threat. We’re working closely with our partners in public health to monitor the spread of the virus and are prepared to respond swiftly if cases arrive here or in Missouri. We will also continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines of our public health authorities.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs is to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and engage proper hand hygiene. We have created and posted new signageon campus with reminders about hand hygiene. We also are making hand sanitizer more widely available throughout campus and will be distributing individual-sized bottles of hand sanitizer in the near future. The individual-sized bottles are on order and should arrive by mid-March. They will be available for pick-up in the Wellness Resource Center, which is located on the lower level of the MU Student Center.
Here is a link to more prevention tips from the CDC.
If you feel sick and think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call ahead before visiting your health care provider. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Students who experience symptoms should contact the MU Student Health Center to discuss symptoms and travel history. Faculty and staff members who experience symptoms should contact their primary care provider.
Spring Break and International Travel
As many in our community plan to travel for spring break, we recommend that you continue to monitor news sources and follow the regional restrictions that are put in place.
Because of high-level travel warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State for China and South Korea, no new university-sponsored travel will be approved to either country until further notice. This includes study abroad programs and any new university-sponsored travel for faculty and staff. Any already approved faculty or staff trips will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Associate Provost Chris Riley-Tillman about those cases, as needed.
Anyone traveling to a foreign country should consider taking advantage of the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
We do currently have a small number of students in South Korea. We have been in contact with each of these students and their parents and families directly, and we are determining the best course of action for each individual on a case-by-case basis in consultation with public health officials.
We encourage our entire community to be vigilant, and it’s just as important that we face this issue together while remaining true to our core values as a university. We encourage you to find ways to show respect and care for each other. As noted by the CDC, people — including those of Asian descent — who have not recently traveled to China or been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of the virus are not at greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 compared to those of non-Asian descent.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the virus. Your health and well-being is our top priority, and we will continue to provide guidance as the situation evolves.
Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD