Coronavirus update: UNCW halts travel to areas where state of emergency has been declared

Coronavirus update: UNCW halts travel to areas where state of emergency has been declared
Coronavirus (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW will not be “funding, sponsoring or supporting” any travel to areas where a state of emergency has been declared due to coronavirus, university officials announced Monday.

At this time, that would include Washington, California, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Utah and Oregon.

Officials also said that any non-essential university-related employee or student domestic travel would not be supported or funded.

“Chancellors, deans and directors have the authority to determine whether proposed travel is essential,” UNCW said in a message to the campus community.

University officials are encouraging employees to “consider alternate ways of participating in events they can’t attend in person, e.g. Zoom or Skype, if offered by event organizers.”

Here is the message sent to students and staff in full:

Dear Campus Community:

We are writing to you today to offer additional updates on the campus response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of today, the university will not be funding, sponsoring or supporting any non-essential university-related employee or student domestic travel. Vice Chancellors, deans and directors have the authority to determine whether proposed travel is essential.

Further, as of today, no travel whatsoever will be funded, sponsored or supported to areas where a state of emergency has been declared by state or local authorities. (This currently includes Washington, California, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Utah and Oregon, but please consult news sources for the latest list.) The university previously announced it will not fund, sponsor or support any employee or student university-related international travel to Threat Level 3 areas (as determined by the CDC). This restriction remains in place.

These travel restrictions apply to conferences, meetings and other in-person events. Employees should consider alternate ways of participating in events they can’t attend in person, e.g. Zoom or Skype, if offered by event organizers. At this time and in accordance with the latest guidelines from health authorities and higher education peers, the university is not requiring the return of faculty, staff or students who have traveled domestically. The university is also not requiring the return of students and faculty currently in countries that have been deemed a Threat Level 2 or below by the CDC. However, this is a fluid situation and guidelines from health authorities will continue to evolve. We will communicate any changes relating to domestic or international travel if additional restrictions become necessary.

Those departments managing searches who have candidates scheduled to travel to campus from areas where a state of emergency has been declared (currently Washington, California, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Utah, and Oregon) or Threat Level 3 areas internationally should contact the Office of Human Resources to determine how best to proceed. Please consult with Jessica Ludwick, Val Heil or Elaine Doell.

There will be a Staff Senate forum focused on the coronavirus situation this Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Lumina Theater. Representatives from the Student Health Center, Human Resources, the Office of International Programs, and other offices will be in attendance to offer insights and answer questions. This will be live-streamed and available via the Staff Senate website. A faculty forum will be held next week, after spring break; additional information will be shared with faculty by Provost Sheerer later today

Please remember the follow guidance as previously shared:

  • If you are a student or employee and you experience these symptoms during or after international travel, or during or after travel to areas that have declared a state of emergency, it is critical that you notify the Student Health Center immediately (spring-travel@uncw.edu or 910.962-3280). Students who have traveled home or elsewhere for spring break should contact local health care providers. Faculty and staff who are not feeling well should see their health care providers, but should also notify the Student Health Center in the event of these symptoms.
  • UNCW and the New Hanover County Health Department will notify employees and students in the event that a case of the coronavirus is reported at UNCW or in New Hanover County. Please do not share or believe updates you have not personally verified to be accurate.
  • Please continue to consult the Student Health Center website and reliable external resources like the CDC and WHO.  Continue to follow the preventive measures recommended to help prevent any illness.

Finally, Human Resources will be contacting managers this week to offer guidance around how to best support their employees during this time, preparing for possible employee absences, the ability of their units to work remotely, and assessing and updating COOPs.

Thank you for your continued cooperation during these difficult circumstances, and for doing your part to help protect your own health and that of our community.

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