Dear UM System employees,
Now that Missouri has experienced its first presumed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to encourage our community to be vigilant and do our part to minimize risk as we approach spring break. While there are no cases of COVID-19 on any of our campuses, systemwide, we are taking this matter seriously and meeting regularly to address the latest in the global spread of the virus.
All four universities and system offices will continue to prohibit university-sponsored travel to CDC Warning Level 3 countries, which include China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Additionally, we will review spring break university-related trips on a case-by-case basis.
If you are considering any travel, domestic or international, I highly encourage you to check both U.S. Department of State travel advisories and the CDC travel website to find updated guidance for your destination as well as for those countries you may plan to visit. Do not travel if you are sick; you may risk additional screening measures, potential entry denial and quarantine. Additionally, anyone who is sick risks spreading germs and infection to others. The CDC answers other common travel-related questions in.
While there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 at this time, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Follow the CDC’s guidelines for using a facemask. The CDC does not recommend people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Finally, the CDC advises people who are experiencing symptoms or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home and call their primary healthcare provider for direction. Calling first is an important guideline so those with the virus do not infect others.
Please help us share these preventative measures by downloading, printing and posting this Flu and COVID-19 Prevention Guide flyer in your offices and other shared spaces as appropriate. We will continue to provide the latest information from our four universities and the CDC on our COVID-19 updates webpage: http://umurl.us/COVID19.
Mun Y. Choi
UM System President