COVID-19 guidance for the University of Utah

Dear Faculty Members, Staff, and Students,

We are writing to share several important updates that affect the University of Utah community. As of today, March 3, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state of Utah. However, the nature of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak is fluid and changing daily.

As a reminder, please check the university’s coronavirus website for regular updates, guidance, and alerts. If you have specific questions that are not answered by the information on the website, we encourage you to call the U’s coronavirus telephone hotline at 801-213-2874.

International Travel Restrictions

Following published guidelines from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until further notice, we are restricting all official university travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea for University of Utah students, faculty, and staff until the end of the spring semester. For any personal travel, we encourage you to follow these same Department of State and CDC recommendations.

U.S. State Department Travel Advisories

Centers for Disease Control Recommendations

Regardless of the nature and location of your university-related international travel, by university policy you must register it with the university. Specifically, University Rule R3-030D requires all international travel participants to:

  • Register their university-related travel at least three weeks prior to departure date
  • Enroll in university-affiliated international and emergency evacuation insurance
  • Abide by all active travel warnings and restrictions

This registration, accessible at one of the following two websites, is for your protection, allowing the university to contact you in case of emergency and to coordinate international travel insurance.

More broadly, report all upcoming university travel, whether domestic or international, in either the Legacy Travel system or the UTravel Concur system. Book airfare using the university’s onsite travel agents and use refundable contracted fares whenever appropriate and cost-effective. The onsite agents have access to contract benefits that may help travelers if flight changes become necessary. Centralized data will help us reach travelers and departments in a timely manner as conditions change, and registering trips will trigger instructions telling departments how to register travel with the appropriate travel registry.

Domestic Travel Guidance

The governors of Florida and Washington have declared states of emergency due to coronavirus cases there. New university travel to those states is restricted, with special emphasis on Seattle and surrounding communities. More broadly, we encourage you to avoid nonessential domestic travel and seek alternative mechanisms to participate in conferences and professional meetings. The Department of Athletics is working with the Pac-12 Conference to evaluate team and student-athlete travel plans.

Learning Abroad, Alternative Spring Break Trips, and Continuing Education Cancellations

With each passing day, international sites and museums are closing and activities are being canceled, making it increasingly difficult to deliver the intended programs. Based on guidance from the CDC and in an abundance of caution, we are suspending all university-affiliated student programs and travel in international locations for the Spring 2020 semester. This includes:

  • All programs offered through Learning Abroad and the Office for Global Engagement
  • All international travel programs offered through Eccles Global and the David Eccles School of Business
  • All global internships offered through the Hinckley Institute
  • All programs offered through, managed, and/or coordinated by all other university colleges and departments
  • All Go Learn programs offered by Continuing Education & Community Engagement
  • All Alternative Spring Break programs and ASUU activities, both in the United States and internationally
  • All independent or individual registered student travel to international locations for university activities (internships, service-learning opportunities, international research, etc.)

University of Utah main campus students studying at the Utah Asia Campus for Spring 2020 should note the specific instructions related to UAC activities, outlined below.

We recognize this may create hardships for some, and we are working to provide appropriate accommodations. Students who are currently abroad and have concerns about their program and travel should work directly with their on-site and university study abroad coordinators. For students whose study abroad credit may be necessary for spring graduation, study abroad coordinators, international program directors, and program staff across campus will be working with students to help them understand options available and make alternate arrangements regarding the necessary credits.

Utah Asia Campus Online Operation

We are evaluating the situation in South Korea daily, working closely with the leaders of the Utah Asia Campus (UAC), other international universities, and the Korean Ministry of Education. At present, classes for the spring semester will continue as online offerings until at least Friday, April 3, with the exception of some laboratory courses. In-person classroom operations are expected to begin on Monday, April 6. Until then, individual faculty will continue to reach out to students with expectations and updates for their specific courses.

Randy McCrillis, UAC dean of students, will be hosting a virtual town hall on Friday, March 6, at noon KST. This town hall is open to all UAC community members, and questions may be submitted prior to the town hall through this form, with time for questions and comments during the session on Friday. Information about how to attend is available on the same page.

We Support Our Campus Community

We also recognize that many of you have friends and families in regions of the world affected by the coronavirus. We want each of you to know that in this stressful time, the university stands with you, and that all of us at the U are committed to your well-being and to supporting you. If you have concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your advisors, your colleagues, university support services, or any of us.

Finally, several testing sites in Asia already have been disrupted by quarantines, making standardized examinations, including the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and SAT/ACT, unavailable. If you receive queries or concerns from potential students, these should be directed to the Graduate School (info@gradschool.utah.edu for programs, policies, and procedures, or graduate@utah.edu for graduate admissions) or Undergraduate Admissions (admissions@utah.edu).

Protecting Your Health

You can protect yourself from coronavirus the same way you protect yourself from other viruses with a few commonsense practices. These include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Avoid shaking hands, especially with those who appear to be ill
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible
  • Stay home when you are sick

For additional details, see the University of Utah Health Care and State of Utah public health guidance:

We will continue to provide updates and guidance as the situation evolves. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Ruth Watkins
President

Daniel Reed
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael Good
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences