Campus guidance re: international travel and the Coronavirus

This information was sent to all employees and students on March 5, 2020. New information will be posted on this blog as it is made available. 

As we approach Spring Break, the College’s Crisis Management Team and International Risk Management Committee have been monitoring the international and domestic response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and have been taking proactive steps to guide decisions related to college-related travel.

College-sponsored travel

Educators, staff and students who are scheduled to travel domestically or abroad as part of college-sponsored travel (i.e., Spring Break trips, May Term, or other spring or summer educational and service trips that have been coordinated through the Intercultural Office) will be contacted directly by the Intercultural Office regarding any changes, decisions or guidance related to the impact of the Coronavirus. If you have questions regarding a specific trip, you may contact Katie Rousopoulos, director of off-campus programs.

All travel outside of the U.S.

As an important reminder, any travel outside of the U.S.—whether college-sponsored or independent travel—is currently a risk due the rapidly changing and unpredictable course of the Coronavirus’ spread.

Any member of the campus community who travels internationally should be aware that if they travel to a region that is currently on the CDC Warning Level 2 or 3 lists—or to a region that is added to those lists during their travel—they are required to self-quarantine following their return to the U.S. off campus for 14 days before returning to Messiah. Individuals in this situation should contact the Engle Center to make an appointment once they are able to return to campus to be evaluated before resuming their normal employee or student routine.

 International Travel Resources

Any college-related persons traveling internationally should:

  • seek appropriate pre-travel guidance prior to travel. The CDC, WHO, and U.S. State Department have developed guidelines for travelers to COVID-19 affected areas. The CDC has issued travel advisories for countries where active outbreaks of COVID-19 are ongoing and the risk of exposure is high. Non-essential travel to these countries is discouraged. See https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
  • ensure that they are covered by adequate health and evacuation insurance for the duration of travel. Communicable disease epidemic and pandemic events are frequently excluded by travel insurance programs and travelers should be made aware of this.
  • register with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: https://step.state.gov/step/
  • develop an action plan regarding potential scenarios including evacuation in case of active COVID-19 outbreaks arising in their destination; a robust and accurate list of contacts (family, university, insurance, embassy, etc.); and viable communication plans.
  • remain current on the rapidly evolving travel advisories issued by the CDC, WHO, and the U.S. State Department.
  • reevaluate travel plans if they involve travel (including interim itinerary layovers) to areas of potential high risk.
  • actively and intentionally learn about and exercise appropriate preventive measures to prevent COVID-19 infection; learn to identify signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infections appropriate steps to take in the event of developing any such symptoms (rapid evaluation at a health care facility, mask use, social isolation pending diagnosis); monitor themselves for symptoms which could represent COVID-19 infection. These travelers should not embark on travels and consider interrupting travel-in-progress if symptoms develop.

Source: American College Health Association

Messiah’s ongoing response

President’s Cabinet, Crisis Management Team and the International Risk Management Committee continue to monitor this international health situation in a measured and proactive way, and will continue to communicate to campus as planning and decisions progress.

For additional CDC resources and information on Coronavirus, visit
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

 

2 thoughts on “Campus guidance re: international travel and the Coronavirus

  1. As a parent of two daughters attending Messiah I greatly appreciate Messiah College’s appropriate concerns regarding COVID-19. There are already government agencies and business that are planning to shutdown, albeit temporarily in the event COVID-19 is confirmed among it’s employees and staff in order to avoid further spreading of the virus. Many, but not all of these agencies and businesses have the capability for teleworking.

    Does Messiah have to capability to remotely teach classes should such a scenario occur on campus, i.e., a confirmed case of COVID-19 among it’s student(s), staff and/or employee(s)? If remote teaching capability doesn’t exit for all courses and students is such a capability being investigated? Is Messiah investigating other options should it become necessary to close the college temporarily and thereby extend the semester in May?

  2. Hi Mr. Flores,

    Thank you for reaching out. Messiah does have a plan and the capability regarding online learning technology. Those plans would be communicated to students in the event the College would need to go that route in response to potential impact of the Coronavirus.

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