COVID-19 Official Campus Communications Archive
COVID-19 Official Campus Communications Archive
Message from UConn President Tom Katsouleas
The health and well-being of our community is always our highest priority. During extraordinary times, such as the current global pandemic, we need to support that primary obligation while doing our best to carry out our academic mission. Consistent with these values, along with directives from our governor and our desire to collectively support the CDC’s public health activities, not only on our campuses but throughout our state, the university is taking the following steps:
- Beginning on Monday, March 23, UConn will move to online course delivery for classes held at the Storrs campus, regional campuses and the School of Law. It is expected that this will remain the case until at least Monday, April 6. If this is extended, the university will communicate that well in advance. All faculty need to provide this option to their students. No faculty members should cancel their courses. Students will be graded and given credit as they normally would. The provost and deans will work with their faculty to develop individualized accommodation plans for courses such as labs, law clinics, internships and clinical placements that are not amenable to online delivery.
- UConn Health will issue separate guidance to its students, faculty and staff by close of business Thursday, March 12.
- All students who are able to remain at home or elsewhere following spring break should do so. For those residential students who will remain at UConn during spring break or have no alternative but to return to campus following spring break, Student Affairs/Residential Life will work directly with them to assess needs and ensure accommodation. The Rec Center will be closed, as will other facilities. A dining facility and other essential services will remain open.
- Effective Saturday, March 14, employees on the Storrs campus, regional campuses, and law school who are able to telecommute should plan to work from home, with the approval of their supervisor, until at least Monday, April 6. Employees must speak to their supervisors in advance to confirm they both agree that the employee is able to telecommute. Further guidance will be provided within the next 24 hours. Employees who cannot telecommute should report to work as scheduled.
- Also effective Saturday, March 14, no events larger than 100 people will be permitted on any campus. This includes all events, meetings and performances, which should be canceled or postponed if they involve more than 100 people. Extension faculty who work regularly with groups of people throughout the state on programming may continue to do so, provided the group is fewer than 100 people.
- With respect to intercollege athletics, competitions may continue. However, spectators will not be permitted to attend, per guidance from the NCAA, including for tournament games.
We at UConn want to do our part as the state battles the threat this virus poses. Reducing the number of people working or living in close quarters on our campuses is one way we can contribute to the effort. It is without a doubt disruptive, but necessary.
These steps, which are being taken in the best interests of public health and our campus communities, are unprecedented in recent memory at UConn and the university recognizes that our students, faculty, and staff will have many, many questions. Extensive Q&A documents are being prepared and will be shared in the coming days, which will hopefully answer many of these questions.
The university’s goal is to dramatically reduce the number of people who are in close contact on our campuses, with their health and well-being in mind. The university will remain open and research will continue, but its operations are being significantly limited for this stretch of time. The university will evaluate the situation continually and will strive to communicate any new developments or changes as they occur.
To that end, we will be holding a virtual town hall tomorrow, Thursday, at noon, when I and other members of UConn’s leadership team will work to answer your questions.
I want to thank you for your patience and flexibility, as well as your prompt effort to adopt these steps to help reduce risk to our own community and to contribute to curtailing the global spread of the virus.
Effective Saturday, March 14, employees on the Storrs, Regional and Law School campuses, who are able to telecommute, should plan to work from home. All telecommuting requires the approval of an employee’s manager. Employees should anticipate telecommuting until at least Monday, April 6. If extended, the University will communicate so.
It is the University’s goal to maintain operations with as few people on our campuses as possible. Employees may not telecommute without their manager’s approval, but managers should work with their employees to maximize telecommuting. Employees who cannot telecommute must report to work as scheduled.
UConn Health leadership will distribute a separate communication to UConn Health employees with guidance related to the President’s communication from last night.
The following information applies to employees on all campuses.
Employees who are well are expected to work (either at their worksite or via telecommuting), even if they have been in contact with or are caring for someone in their household who is ill with a condition other than a confirmed case of COVID-19. However, we suggest employees take typical preventative measures normal to all caregivers. Well employees who are not already on an approved leave to care for an immediate family member are expected to work unless:
- The employee has traveled to a Level 2 or Level 3 country in the last 14 days;
- The employee has cared for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
- An individual who resides with the employee has been to a Level 2 or Level 3 country in the last 14 days.
Employees who have the capacity to work remotely in these situations above should telecommute (with their manager’s approval) and should speak with their manager regarding further guidance.
If an employee in one of these situations above does not have the capacity or approval to work from home, then the employee would qualify for paid leave for the duration of the 14-day period.
Illness in the Workplace:
Employees who have symptoms of respiratory illness or other illnesses should stay at home until they are free from a fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or symptom-altering medications. A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Employees with concerns or questions about their illness or need advice about whether to come to work should call their personal health physician to manage their situation properly and should, per existing University protocol, notify their manager of the need to be absent or unable to work due to illness. For absences due to illness, employees are expected to follow the necessary processing protocols up to and including physician certification.
Workers at Higher Risk:
The University urges employees who are at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions to consult with their physicians about steps they can take to protect their health. Employees may share physician recommendations with their manager for approval. It is important to note that, due to the essential functions of the University, managers may be unable to accommodate all physician recommendations.
If an employee can perform their duties remotely, the employee may request to telecommute at the discretion and determination of the manager. If an employee cannot accomplish their duties remotely, the employee may request (via their manager) to use their appropriate leave accruals if they wish to stay out of the workplace entirely. Approval is subject to management discretion based on operational needs.
Specific individual questions in this area of concern should be routed to the two HR email sites as noted below.
Employees and Continuity of Operations:
UConn and UConn Health combined are a continuously operating residential university and health care center and employees provide services for all aspects of residential life, patient care, campus health and safety, critical research, the protection of physical and intellectual assets and the continuity and resumption of academic programs and other operations. We are continuing to review staffing to ensure the core missions of the institution continue in the event of increased employee absences.
Pay practices currently in place for employees not quarantined remain unchanged and are subject to collective bargaining agreements and University policy. The highest priority for the University is the health of our community, and no employee who is ill should come to work. If an employee has a case of COVID-19, and has an issue with leave time, the employee should contact Human Resources. The University reserves the right to make retroactive pay or leave adjustments, once more is known about this situation and its impact to UConn.
HR teams at UConn Health and Storrs are meeting daily to address manager and employee concerns and develop responses for all inquiries received. We highly recommend that all managers and employees contact HR using the information below:
Please refer to the University’s FAQs on a daily basis.
Please contact your primary care provider with medical questions. Individuals may also visit the two University website for Storrs & the Regional Campuses and UConn Health.
This message is intended for all faculty.
As you know, the University has restricted travel and has taken other measures to reduce the chances that our activities contribute to the spread of COVID-19. We are writing to remind you that PhD students defending their dissertations, master’s students defending their theses, and their advisory committees have the option of conducting the defense via teleconference. The only requirements for the defense are that:
- The public defense be open to any interested person with the ability for any member of the audience to ask questions of the student.
- Any interested member of the faculty has the opportunity to participate.
- All members of the advisory committee participate in the defense simultaneously.
Many different combinations of in-person and remote videoconferencing could satisfy these requirements. If you have questions about formats, please don’t hesitate to contact Kent Holsinger (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions about the technology options available, please contact email@example.com or 860-486-4357.
To the UConn Community:
Earlier today (Monday, 3/9/20), Governor Lamont sent executive branch agency heads a directive designed to help prevent and delay COVID-19 in Connecticut, including freezing employee travel on state business.
University-Sponsored Travel Outside of Connecticut is Suspended: Though not an executive branch agency, UConn wishes to act in keeping with the governor’s goals. Effective immediately, all domestic and international, university-sponsored travel outside of the state by faculty and staff is suspended until further notice. Any exception needs to be approved by university leadership.
Requests for Travel Exceptions: If you believe an exception should be made for your planned travel, please make a request in writing to the appropriate operational leadership office to whom you report, meaning the President (for units that report directly to the President’s office), Provost, Executive Vice President for Administration/CFO, or the CEO of UConn Health. Each request will be evaluated and a response will be provided.
Travel Updates: In consultation with the Governor’s office, the university may determine what is or is not essential employee travel and will provide you with any updates.
Campus Events: Organizers of events on any of our campuses being attended by out-of-state travelers must continue to consult with the Provost’s office (if the event as academic in nature, including the regional campuses and the schools in Farmington) or the EVP for Administration’s office (if the event is non-academic in nature) to determine if any modifications are needed. This requirement applies to all events sponsored by the University, including schools, colleges, departments as well as employee-sponsored or student-sponsored events.
On-campus activities such as athletic events and fine arts performances can continue as scheduled. If anything changes or if modifications are needed, new guidance will be shared immediately.
Dear UConn students,
We hope all is well. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation worldwide, we wanted to update you regarding UConn's Summer 2020 Education Abroad programs.
As you may know, global conditions are fluid and changing daily. UConn is monitoring the situation closely to safeguard your well-being and our community.
As of today, UConn has suspended all student international group travel until further notice.
Given that decision, Education Abroad will suspend commitment deadlines for all Summer 2020 programs until further notice. We aim to provide each program's applicants with specific details in the coming weeks, including whether your program will run, a final commitment date, and when to purchase a flight.
If you are still interested in a program abroad, you may commit to your application. If so, you will not be charged unless the program continues to operate.
If you have already committed to a Summer 2020 program but choose to withdraw before its final commitment date, UConn will not charge you any fees, including the otherwise non-refundable $475 Education Abroad Fee and the $25 application fee.
We know full well that this situation is extraordinary and that its ambiguity is confusing and frustrating. That said, your physical and mental health are always our highest priority.
Please do not hesitate to contact us or your Education Abroad adviser if you have any questions.
UConn Education Abroad
As the University continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, across the globe, we are taking steps to help improve our informational awareness and reduce the risk to our community state-wide.
GUIDANCE UPON RETURNING FROM INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Effective immediately and in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UConn and UConn Health will require that employees follow the guidance below:
1) Individuals who have returned from personal or business travel within the past 14 days from a CDC Level 2 or 3 country should remain at home for at least 14 full days after their return from these countries and self-monitor daily for fever (>100.5 degrees F), cough, and shortness of breath.
2) Individuals who have already returned from a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 country, returned to work, and remain within the full 14-day period of potential exposure, please inform your manager and the Office of Human Resources (see contact information) immediately and remain at home for the remainder of the required full 14-day period.
3) Individuals who are asymptomatic during and after the full 14-day period should notify their manager and the Office of Human Resources before returning to their regular duties/station.
4) Individuals who develop symptoms during the full 14-day period should contact their primary care provider to determine the necessity of an in-person medical evaluation. Individuals should also notify their manager and the Office of Human Resources. Employees should seek emergency care if symptoms worsen after alerting the facility of your travel history and impending arrival.
5) Individuals with household members who traveled to a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 country and who may or may not be symptomatic should remain at home for 14 full days following first contact following their return.
NOTE: UConn and UConn Health may identity new geographical regions, including domestic areas, as areas with risk of spread of COVID-19 and travel to these regions may result in exclusion from work activities upon return. Anyone who is not a U.S. National returning from a CDC Level 3 country may not be readmitted to the U.S. by Custom and Border Protection.
MANDATORY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL REGISTRATION
Effective immediately, UConn and UConn Health have cancelled all institutionally sponsored international travel to CDC Level 2 and Level 3 countries. Guest visits from these countries is also suspended at this time. It is strongly encouraged to cancel or postpone all non-essential foreign travel at this time.
Note that the form asks for your Net ID and password. There may be employees, residents and guests who do not use their Net ID regularly and may not know it or do not have one. If that is the case, please click here and follow the instructions.
Once the form intake occurs, a number of additional internal steps will occur and the Office of Human Resources may contact you based on the complete details of your form.
Business travel within the United States is currently allowed at the discretion of UConn and UConn Health employees and managers using the regular protocols; but in an abundance of caution business travel may be reviewed to determine if that business travel is immediately essential to the mission of the University. All personal employee travel within the United States remains a personal choice, but we urge you to take special precautions in respect to your own health.
GUESTS, VISITORS, AND OTHERS WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYEES
Please inform external contractors, vendors, consultants or residency program directors that UConn and UConn Health is barring international business travel to CDC Level 2 and Level 3 countries. Individuals, including non-employees, who have visited one of these nations in the last 14 days must undergo a 14-day self-monitoring period at home before returning to any University campus. This restriction does not apply to those seeking treatment at UConn Health.
Here are some tips to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Do not shake hands; instead, use alternative greetings.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
All employees who are being instructed to stay at home for 14 days and monitor their health may be approved to telecommute for work with University approval in accordance with our respective telecommuting policies, guidelines, and bargaining unit contracts. More information regarding telecommuting will be forthcoming from the Office of Human Resources.
All employees who are being instructed to stay at home for 14 days to monitor their health and for whom no telecommuting capability can be arranged, will be placed on paid leave through the 14 day self-monitoring period and paid in accordance with their regular base rate of pay. Note: Some exceptions apply to temporary and short-term employees.
IF YOU OR A HOUSEHOLD MEMBER BECOMES ILL
Employees OR household members of employees who become ill with COVID-19 or manifest symptoms of the virus must follow the instructions of their health care provider. The illness may or may not rise to the level of a Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) event, but the Office of Human Resources will provide all the relevant FMLA paperwork as appropriate. Employees who are or become ill should use accrued leave time, if applicable. If an employee exhausts their sick leave, employees should use other accrued leave, including vacation, personal leave, or any additional time prescribed by a specific bargaining agreement or policy. Employees who do not accrue paid time off should contact their manager and the Office of Human Resources.
Please contact the Office of Human Resources for any other questions, as appropriate:
In closing, as the University and the Office of Human Resources continues to develop more information for all campuses, we will keep employees apprised of further guidance and FAQs. We are grateful for all ongoing efforts and encourage all supervisors to take a moment to talk to their teams about contingency and continuity planning, including staffing and resource needs.
For many in the UConn community, this is a very stressful time. Remember that our strength as an institution lies in our respect for each other, understanding, and compassion. Please continue to be supportive of one another, take care of yourself and each another in in the days ahead. Together, we will work to ensure the health and safety of our community.
To the UConn Community:
It is critical that all students and employees read the message below related to travel registration and new travel restrictions as there may be actions you need to take in response.
As the university continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, across the globe, we are taking steps to help improve our informational awareness and reduce the risk to our community.
The university is asking all faculty, staff, students and affiliates to inform UConn of your recent or planned international travel.
The nations that are categorized by the CDC as being safe or unsafe to travel to due to coronavirus can change quickly. Because of this, the university needs to keep track of all planned international travel by members of the UConn community.
If you have returned from foreign travel in the last 14 days or you plan to travel outside of the U.S. in the next 90 days, please fill out this form. This includes both your UConn-sponsored travel as well as your own personal travel. The information you provide will be sent to UConn’s Office of Global Affairs. After submitting the form, you may be contacted directly by UConn staff if there are specific actions you need to take or if there is information you need to be aware of related to your travel.
Note that you need your Net ID and password to complete the form. There may be employees at UConn Health who do not use their Net ID regularly and may not know what it is. If that is the case, please click here and follow the instructions.
New Travel Restrictions & Guidance
Due to the continued spread of coronavirus globally and domestically, effective immediately, UConn is implementing new travel restrictions and providing additional guidance for all travel for faculty, staff and students:
- All university-sponsored travel by employees and students to Level 3 and Level 2 nations as determined by the CDC is suspended. Previously, UConn had barred official travel to Level 3 nations only. The university is now extending this ban to Level 2 nations as well. Any student or employee who travels to a Level 2 or Level 3 nation must self-quarantine upon their return to the U.S. As of this moment, that means China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan.
- All planned international university-related student group travel is postponed including during Spring Break. Students traveling individually during Spring Break should take seriously the risks associated with international travel at the present time; a nation that is not now classified as a Level 2 or Level 3 country could be designated as such without notice and a 14-day self-quarantine period may be required upon your return to the U.S. The university urges students to exercise great caution when making any travel choices.
- All faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to cancel or postpone all non-essential foreign and domestic travel at this time, including both professional and personal.
- Faculty or staff planning on-campus academic events such as conferences, symposia, etc., that require groups of participants to travel to Connecticut from elsewhere in the U.S. or internationally should consult with the Provost’s Office on whether or not your event should proceed as planned.
- Staff who are planning non-academic events that require groups of participants to travel to Connecticut from elsewhere in the U.S. or internationally should consult with the office of the Executive Vice President for Administration on whether or not your event should proceed as planned.
Any faculty or staff member planning such an event should immediately review any contracts or agreements in place to determine whether there are associated cancellation fees. Most agreements contain provisions permitting termination without charge if sufficient advance notice is provided. Please contact the Purchasing Department if you have questions.
The coronavirus situation continues to rapidly evolve; because of this, travel restrictions and guidance may also continue to change very quickly.
If you have questions related to university-related foreign or domestic travel, please contact Global Affairs:
Phone: (860) 486-5022
Later today, UConn Human Resources will send a message to all employees that will address various issues and questions that UConn’s coronavirus-related travel guidance and policies will generate.
Dear International Students and Scholars,
It will soon be Spring Break, and ISSS would like to remind international students and scholars again that we require at least one week to process your travel signature request for international travel. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT UCONN HAS SUSPENDED ALL UNIVERSITY-SPONSORED STUDENT INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
Due to the fast-changing circumstances related to coronavirus, we would like to urge students who are traveling internationally for personal reasons to carefully consider travel risks. We do not know when countries will be deemed high risk for travel, and therefore disruptions like flight cancellations, U.S. entry restrictions, or quarantine requirements could delay your return to UConn.
Any delayed return to campus can lead to unintended consequences related to academic program completion or keeping your I-20/DS-2019 active. While we will provide you with a travel signature on your DS-2019 or I-20 if eligible, please consider these risks and keep in close communication with ISSS if your travel plans change.
If you will travel internationally:
- Submit your travel information record as soon as possible so that we can review your plans and issue a travel signature, if necessary.
- Consider purchasing a travel insurance that will cover you in your destination country. Make sure that the plan covers epidemic situations, and coverage for medical evacuation.
- We do not recommend that any students conduct personal travel to countries deemed by the Center for Disease Control as a Level 3 risk for coronavirus (currently China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea). If you need to travel to a country designated Level 3 for coronavirus, please communicate these plans to your ISSS advisor as soon as possible for further guidance.
- If you choose to travel to Level 3 countries for personal reasons, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the United States. There is also a risk that you will not be allowed reentry to the United States (current entry restrictions are in place for travelers from China and Iran – this could expand to other countries).
- Be sure to evaluate local conditions in your travel destination before you go, and continually while you are there.
- Practice basic hygiene for protecting yourself from illness, such as washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
Travel Signature Instructions
Students and exchange visitors who are traveling outside the U.S. during Spring Break must submit their request to ISSS for a travel signature no later than Friday, March 6 in order to receive it by Friday March 13. ISSS is not doing an in-person travel signature week prior to spring break.
All students who are traveling outside the U.S. must:
-Complete a Travel Information Record online through the ISSS Portal to report your international travel
If you need a travel signature on your most current I-20 or DS-2019, you must also bring to the ISSS front desk:
- Your Form I-20/DS-2019
- An enrollment verification form listing the current semester, and all past semesters studied at UConn. Students at Storrs campus can request this from the Information Desk of Wilbur Cross Building. Visiting scholars and research students do not need to submit an enrollment verification form to get a travel signature.
How do I know if I have a valid travel signature already?
If you have an I-20 form, page 2 of the Form has a section called “Travel Endorsements”. If you already have a travel signature on this page that was signed within 12 months of your planned return date to the U.S., you do not need a travel signature. If you are on post-completion OPT, the travel signature must be less than 6 months old.
If you have a DS-2019 form, the bottom right corner of the form has a section called “Travel Validation by Responsible Officer”. If you already have a travel signature on this page that was signed within 12 months of your planned return date to the U.S., you do not need a travel signature.
Remember, even if you already have a valid travel signature, you still must report your travel to ISSS through the Travel Information Record.
Both the submitted Travel Information Record AND your I-20/DS-2019 and enrollment verification must be submitted by Friday, March 6 for pick up by Friday, March 13.
Visiting Scholars and Research Students: If your travel is for academic purposes related to your current research at UConn, you must also submit a completed J-1 Scholar Out of Country Research Request and upload this into your Travel Information Record.
Please contact ISSS if you have any questions, and read more information and Travel FAQs on the ISSS travel webpage.
International Student and Scholar Services
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Message from President Thomas Katsouleas: Preparing for COVID-19 (coronavirus)
March 5, 2020
To the UConn Community:
I write to share with you what UConn is doing, largely behind the scenes, as we evaluate, plan, and prepare for the threat that COVID-19 (coronavirus) presents to our community.
Late last month, we activated UConn’s emergency planning and response structure – not because we were in an emergency situation, but because it is the best vehicle we have to coordinate, prepare, and communicate. At its core is the Executive Policy Group (EPG), a large team of senior university leaders representing multiple units across campuses who are charged with overseeing emergency planning at UConn. This group is led by William Shea, the director of UConn’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and conducts training exercises regularly to contend with any number of threats and hazards faced by the university, including recently a pandemic scenario.
When the emergency team is stood up, in most cases you can tell by checking the University’s main website, which will contain a banner with a link for more information and status reports. Here is UConn’s main coronavirus information page to which the banner links.
Here is a little more information about what is specifically taking place to prepare for the current threat:
The UConn emergency management team and OEM staff have been augmented with additional key subject matter experts in a variety of relevant fields. This includes medical staff from Student Health and Wellness in Storrs and key UConn Health physicians. It has begun meeting weekly and as-needed to share information and make decisions regarding UConn’s response to coronavirus and plans in the event of a local outbreak.
Three focused working groups have also been formed by OEM to examine specific issues and recommend appropriate planning measures. Specifically:
- The Academic Affairs Working Group will focus on coronavirus-related policy impacts on faculty and staff travel including research trips, conference attendance, lectures/presentations and visitors to UConn for academic programs; provisions for academic continuity and distance learning and potential exposures in interrupted research activities and options for minimizing those disruptions; and any need for changes/cancellations in academic work on campus.
- The Student Affairs Working Group will review current preparedness measures in case of infectious disease outbreak on campus. This includes identifying quarantine and isolation procedures, access to dining, facility preparation, and overall student health and safety.
- The Staff and Faculty Affairs Working Group will address the needs and planning necessary to ensure our staff and faculty members at all campuses are informed and managers are prepared for the ever-changing implications of coronavirus. Topics include: telecommuting, working conditions, travel, succession planning if colleagues fall ill, preparedness at home, large gatherings, and time and attendance, among other issues.
At UConn Health, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and his team have also been actively planning for numerous scenarios including with respect to our clinical operations across the state, as well as faculty, staff, and student travel. Dr. Agwunobi shared critical guidance to all UConn Health clinical faculty and staff this week regarding coronavirus and the delivery of care to patients. He has also been communicating regularly with the larger UConn Health community regarding the organization’s readiness efforts.
Additional communications will follow this one in the next 24 hours. The first will be to the entire UConn community and pertains to registering recent and future foreign travel. The second will be only to faculty and staff and will focus on human resources and labor relations issues, also connected to travel, and hopefully will answer many of the questions that have and will continue to arise.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Connecticut or at UConn thus far, as you know, the situation continues to change very quickly. The health, safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority and continually guides our thinking and actions as we prepare for this threat. We will be communicating with you on a regular basis about coronavirus, the steps UConn is taking, and the steps that members of our community should take to help protect themselves and each other in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, use the “’bow throw” or elbow bump instead of shaking hands (easier said than remembered, I have found), wash your hands when you forget, and stay home and get well with minor flu or cold symptoms.
University of Connecticut
To all Students:
As you have no doubt noticed, the winter flu season is upon us, compounded by the current concerns regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
As part of our efforts to minimize opportunities for transmission of disease, we are writing to urge you to take special precautions with respect to your own health. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please do not attend classes or other group activities that might increase your exposure to others.
Instructors have been reminded to exercise flexibility and understanding toward students who miss class work as a result of illness.
You should exercise caution and practice self-care if you are feeling sick. Seek the advice of Student Health and Wellness or your own primary care provider.
Thank you for helping to keep our community healthy.
John C. Volin, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
Consistent with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, the University of Connecticut is requiring a 14-day self-quarantine period for all travelers from CDC Level 3 countries, including Italy and South Korea, before they return to any UConn campus.
This includes our Education Abroad student participants, who have been notified that the Italy and South Korea programs have been canceled and they must return to the U.S.
They have been directed to isolate themselves from others in their homes for 14 days while monitoring for signs and symptoms of illness as described at the end of this message. It is also acceptable for them to self-isolate in another country for if they have family outside of the U.S., as long as that nation does not have the Level 3 designation (China, Italy, South Korea, Iran).
In addition to the health and quarantine advice listed below, those students have been advised to stay in touch with UConn Student Health and Wellness if they have questions and either don’t have a primary medical care provider or have special circumstances.
These students are an important part of the UConn community, and their health and safety is our highest priority. Although they must remain off campus during the 14-day self-quarantine period, the University has assured them it will do all that it can to help with concerns and questions.
In addition, the overseas partner institutions where they were studying have confirmed that they may complete their full load of coursework for the term and earn grades via online or remote learning.
Other Education Abroad programs are not affected at this time. This guidance applies only to those who traveled in Italy and South Korea.
Students who had traveled in China during the winter break in December have passed the 14-day self-monitoring period, and do not need to self-quarantine again unless additional travel to a Level 3 country takes place. As a reminder, the University has prohibited all institutionally sponsored travel to those nations (China, Italy, South Korea, Iran).
The following advice has been provided to the students returning from Italy and South Korea:
Advice for 14 day home quarantine:
- To the extent possible, remain at home for 14 days after your return from Italy or South Korea.
- Monitor your health for symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- If you develop symptoms, call ahead before seeking medical care, and do not use drop-in urgent care sites or other locations.
- Practice "social distancing" by avoiding public places where close contact with others may occur.
- Practice good hand hygiene with frequent hand-washing.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and practice good cough etiquette (cough into your sleeve or elbow, not your hands).
- Do not share personal items.
- Decline requests from visitors during the quarantine period.
- You can return to normal activities after the 14 day period is complete; there is no clearance process.
The circumstances regarding COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, continue to evolve quickly.
In light of new guidance issued Friday evening (2/28) by the federal Centers for Disease Control, UConn is canceling all official travel to Italy and has notified its Study Abroad participants there that they must return as soon as possible to the United States.
The University continues to monitor updates regarding COVID-19, and had already decided to cancel all official travel to China and South Korea, which already had been designated Warning Level 3 nations by the federal CDC.
All non-essential institutionally sponsored travel is now suspended to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran in keeping with the updated CDC guidance. The CDC has designated Japan at an Alert Level 2, in which travel is permissible but advised against for older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the State of Connecticut or at UConn.
UConn currently has more than 300 students participating in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including a handful in South Korea and 88 in Italy, all of whom are returning to UConn. The University has no students in China or Iran for academic programs at this time.
Students who are returning to UConn from overseas will be provided online and remote learning opportunities to complete their academic requirements. UConn also will work with them on other logistics to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The health and safety of our UConn students and employees is our highest priority. Please rest assured that working in collaboration with our state and local health departments, we feel prepared to respond to any cases of COVID-19 that might present themselves on our campuses or at UConn Health.
The University urges you to remember that many of our students, faculty and staff have loved ones in China, Italy and other affected countries. Those students and others returning from affected nations and might understandably feel heightened stress and anxiety, and we encourage everyone to extend understanding, compassion and camaraderie.
Sent on Behalf of UConn Student Health & Wellness and UConn Global Affairs
To the University Community:
UConn is closely monitoring the public health situation related to the novel strain of coronavirus (2019- nCoV) that originated in Wuhan, China.
No one in Connecticut has been diagnosed with coronavirus to date, but we want to ensure that our students, faculty and staff know where to find information about UConn’s preparation, response measures, and relevant travel policies.
The U.S. Department of State has also issued a China travel advisory in which it advises people to avoid traveling there if possible, particularly in areas of increased risk.
Although the University currently has no undergraduate programs with participants studying in China, students and employees who plan to visit China for other professional or personal reasons are reminded to register their travel with UConn Global Affairs and seek approval as required by University policy.
The Medical Care division of UConn Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) is closely following updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and working in collaboration with the local and state departments of public health.
Answers to specific questions about coronavirus are also available on SHaW’s website at shs.uconn.edu/coronavirus, along with preventative actions to help prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses.
According to the CDC, individuals with recent travel through Wuhan, China in the past 14 days could have been exposed to 2019-nCoV, so students who visit SHaW with fever and symptoms of a lower respiratory illness are being screened for recent travel.
We are prepared to care for any of our Storrs students who may screen positive for a possible 2019- nCoV exposure.
UConn faculty and staff who might have been exposed to the virus and who exhibit flu-like symptoms are also encouraged to contact their healthcare providers.
Symptoms may be flu-like including fever, cough, congestion, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear between two and 14 days following exposure. It is unclear how easily the virus is transmitted, but the CDC considers the immediate health risk to the general population from the virus to be low at this time.
If you are experiencing symptoms and are concerned that you may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV, contact your medical provider immediately. UConn students on the Storrs campus may seek care at SHaW, 234 Glenbrook Road.
All UConn students, including those on our regional campuses, may access the 2019-nCoV information line during regular business hours at (860) 486-8987. After hours 2019-nCoV concerns can be directed to the 24/7 nurse advice line at (860) 486-4700.
We recognize that the situation is rapidly evolving and are monitoring for new CDC recommendations and guidelines daily along with our state and local departments of public health and the Governor’s office.
At UConn Health, healthcare providers are screening patients in urgent care and the Emergency Department according to the CDC guidelines.
This is an evolving situation, and the University will continue to monitor and update the SHaW website if there are further changes. International students can also find resources through International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).
We recognize that many of our students and employees are natives of China and/or have family and friends in the country and may be concerned for their well-being. Please know that the University community supports and cares about you, and we send our best wishes for the health of your loved ones.
As the University continues to monitor updates regarding COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, UConn has decided as a precautionary measure to cancel all official travel to China and South Korea, which have been designated Warning Level 3 nations by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All non-essential institutionally sponsored travel to those nations is suspended.
The CDC has designed Iran, Italy and Japan at Alert Level 2. While official travel to these nations is permissible, the CDC advises that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing non-essential travel.
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as we assess UConn’s preparedness and response plans regarding COVID-19. The situation regarding this illness is fluid and can change quickly. The university will provide regular updates to the community as we receive new information and guidance from the CDC.
To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the State of Connecticut or at UConn, nor does the University have any employees or students still within the 14-day post-travel period during which symptoms must be closely monitored to guard against the possibility of the virus.
UConn currently has more than 300 students participating in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including a handful in South Korea. Those students are returning to UConn.
The University has no students in China for academic programs at this time.
The 88 UConn students currently studying in Italy (Alert Level 2) have been notified that they may choose to remain or leave at this time, and that they will be provided online and remote learning opportunities to complete their academic requirements if they return to the U.S.
Please rest assured that working in collaboration with our state and local health departments, we feel prepared to respond to any cases of COVID-19 that might present themselves on our campuses or at UConn Health.
The University urges you to remember that many of our students, faculty and staff have loved ones in China and other affected countries and may understandably feel heightened stress and anxiety. UConn is an inclusive and global community, and we encourage everyone to be compassionate and mindful of the impact on others on our campuses.
UConn's Office of Global Affairs, UConn Student Health and Wellness and UConn Health continue to closely monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the federal government regarding COVID-19.
We are working in collaboration with our local and state departments of public health, and in constant communication with our students studying abroad.
To date, there are no reported cases in the state of Connecticut and no suspected cases on any of our UConn campuses.
As students returned to our campuses at the start of spring semester, all individuals who presented to SHaW–Medical Care with fever and symptoms of a lower respiratory illness were screened for recent travel according to CDC guidelines, and we were prepared to care for any of our students who screened positive for a possible COVID-19 exposure.
We offered health checks for recent travelers and established a dedicated phone line to answer COVID-19-related questions and concerns. Throughout this time, the risk to our students from the COVID-19 virus remained extremely low.
The current risk of COVID-19 to UConn students is extremely low. However, our thoughts go out to our families, friends, and colleagues around the world for whom this is not the case.
UConn's Education Abroad office can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding impacts on overseas programs.
UConn Health also performs travel-related screenings for patients through its Urgent Care locations and its Emergency Department, and is equipped at those sites to isolate, diagnose, and care for patients with the virus according to CDC recommendations.
If you are uncertain whether an in-person evaluation is warranted, please contact your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms.