As I am sure you are aware, the nation and the world are closely monitoring the developing outbreak of a new coronavirus (COVID -19). To date, there are 82,000 coronavirus cases confirmed in 45 countries, including the United States. The world-wide death toll is just over 2,800. By comparison, and to provide a sense of scale of concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in the United States alone, the 2019-2020 flu season has hospitalized 280,000 peo- ple, and resulted in 16,000 deaths.
The UVM Emergency Operations Group has been meeting regularly to prepare campus to handle any immediate or long-term issues related to the coronavirus. We have also been working and will continue to work with the Vermont Department of Health to coordinate planning and response ef- forts.
Recently, the CDC recommended avoiding all nonessential travel (CDC Warning Level 3) to South Korea. As a result, UVM faculty, staff and students should delay travel to South Korea until further notice for research or other academic or business purposes, irrespective of the source of financial support for the travel or for students, whether for credit or not-for credit. The University will restrict future travel to additional countries the CDC adds to the Warning Level 3 list. Individuals with planned travel to countries currently on the CDC Alert Level 2 list—Iran, Italy, and Japan—should make contingency plans in the event the CDC raises their status to Warning Level 3.
We encourage students currently abroad to regularly check the CDC website for latest information, consult with their host institution/program providers, and think critically about their own comfort level with the emerging situation given their individual medical conditions and the possibility of movement/travel being restricted. The Office of International Educationis available to talk with stu- dents about their individual circumstances. Students involved in study abroad programs through other institutions need to be aware that they may be impacted by the host institution’s decision to suspend a program. This is a decision out of UVM’s control. We will work with those students on a
case by case basis regarding the impact this may have on their coursework and academic progress. Spring break travel-study courses currently are scheduled to continue as planned. If threat levels change in a way that impacts any of these programs, we will be in touch with the appropriate college or school.
We have created a website that contains the current status of the virus with links to the CDC with specific information about the virus. The site also contains additional resources including links to the Vermont Department of Health and the World Health Organization. If you are planning any travel, particularly international travel, we encourage you to review the CDC’s recommendations. These are the most credible sources of information.
University Continued Preparedness Planning
The University has an emergency response plan, and continues to monitor developments. As the sit- uation evolves, we will update you as appropriate.
Gary Derr, Vice President for Operations and Public Safety