March 2 Campus Coronavirus Update
The University and the University System of Maryland (USM) are actively monitoring the global outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland or at the University at this time, this is an evolving situation and one that requires continued monitoring and communication. The University has established this website to communicate the most up-to-date information and our planning for COVID-19.
In the last week, community-acquired cases of COVID-19 were detected in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new travel health notices for Italy, South Korea, and Iran. As a result of the increased health risks, the U.S. Department of State increased the Travel Advisory to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) and in some areas Level 4 (Do Not Travel). Following our long-standing risk-management practice of suspending academic programs in host countries classified as Level 3, the University has suspended our study-abroad programs/partnerships in Italy and South Korea for the spring 2020 semester (we currently do not have any students studying in China or Iran).
Dr. Brian Stiegler, assistant provost for international education, is working with impacted students so they are able to maintain academic progress. We have asked students studying in Japan, which has been elevated to Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, to be alert to communication from SU’s Center for International Education (CIE) and be prepared to return to the U.S. should the Travel Advisory Level increase.
We request that students, faculty, and staff returning from Italy and South Korea stay away from campus for a 14-day self-quarantine period and seek medical support and advice as needed. We also ask those studying and working abroad in other countries to limit additional travel as much as possible and closely monitor travel advisories. Please note that the U.S. Government could close the borders partially or wholly at any time, changing this advice substantially. All travelers should factor this uncertainty into their travel planning.
Regarding summer programming, the University is considering travel and activities planned for outbound and inbound students; SU’s CIE will be closely working with each of these programs as will the academic deans. SU’s Office of Cultural Affairs is monitoring the impact of any travel restrictions on their programming for the spring and the upcoming academic year. Please monitor the Cultural Affairs website for any programming changes.
The University has well-developed Emergency Management plans and follows guidance provided by the CDC, U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and USM public health experts. The President’s Office has established a COVID-19 Working Group that will monitor, plan and coordinate campus responses and communication, and identify related issues to be addressed. A team from SU will participate in a COVID-19 scenario training and planning session organized by the USM on March 4th. Additionally, we are developing a campus-wide continuity of operations plan (COOP) for Academic Affairs and will be asking for input and contingency planning at the department or program level. COOPs for all areas of the University are being reviewed in consultation with appropriate agencies and campus leadership.
Helpful resources regarding COVID-19 may be found at:
- CDC Guidelines
- Maryland Department of Health
- USM Coronavirus website
- SU Coronavirus website
- What you need to know about coronavirus
While the risks to our campus are currently low, it is important to plan now for any impacts on our academic programs and University operations as well as the health and well-being of all members of our campus community.
Karen L. Olmstead, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior VP of Academic Affairs