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Coronavirus Updates and Travel Restrictions

March 6, 2020

Faculty, Staff, and Students,

This communication provides you with updates on the UTHSC response to the rapidly evolving situation related to the COVID-19 virus. 

Today the UT System sent a Coronavirus Update. In addition to the System communication, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that UTHSC is planning and taking actions in response to the COVID-19 virus. Although we are unaware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the Memphis area, we must plan for the possibility of an outbreak. A case has been reported in Tennessee in the Nashville area.

It is important to note, the vast majority of people who get the COVID-19 virus recover. We will be prepared and do our part to protect our campus and community, and continue our missions of education, research, clinical care, and outreach through unsettling times.

Under the direction of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ken Brown, the campus Emergency Operations Center is now mobilized, and the policy group is meeting regularly in order to respond to a rapidly changing scenario. Dr. Lori Gonzalez is working with the colleges to develop continuity plans for the academic mission in the event of a major regional outbreak.

One of the most concerning issues we are dealing with at the current time is travel outside of the United States. To protect the campus community, please review and adhere to the information presented below.
International Travel
Beginning today the university is suspending all international travel. If you have plans for university-affiliated international travel in March, please cancel it. International travel beyond March is suspended indefinitely. Please do not book any new university-affiliated international travel until further notice.

We understand this is a hardship, and also want to do our part to contain the spread of the virus, and protect our employees and community in a travel landscape that is changing quickly and unpredictably.

The UT System communication provides guidance on reimbursement or expenses and other details regarding international travel. Please refer to the link above for specific information.

If you are overseas and arrive home in the coming weeks, please contact your supervisor and follow all CDC guidelines, which may involve being quarantined at home for 14 days. We will contact all UTHSC students currently on an international training rotation with instructions.If there is a circumstance where university-related international travel must occur, please submit an exception to Dr. Ken Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor.

We encourage you to curtail personal international travel. If you do travel internationally for personal reasons, we ask you to inform the Office of International Affairs via this link and you are required to follow any CDC-recommended self-isolation guidelines before coming back to campus. If you travel for personal reasons, and have trouble abroad or need to isolate at home when you return, please understand you are responsible for your time and expenses.
Study Abroad/Experiential Learning  
We are canceling university-sponsored international travel and will reimburse all costs not covered by travel insurance for impacted students, faculty and staff. Please do not purchase tickets for a university-sponsored experience.
Domestic Travel
We ask that you be mindful of domestic travel and bringing visitors to campus. Several states have declared states of emergency as they work to contain the COVID-19 virus. Please do not travel if you have respiratory symptoms, and please check with anyone you may be hosting to ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms before they travel.

This email outlines some important new travel decisions. Campus leadership are continuing to work through this fluid situation, and we will continue to update you. We understand some of these decisions may cause you difficulty, and commit to continuing to review and evolve the response as new information is available.

We will communicate immediately as new information emerges.

Feb 15, 2023