Interim Emergency Policy Statement Regarding the 2019 Coronavirus
Each University of Alabama System campus is a global institution with community members who are engaged in University-sponsored international work and travel. The personal health and safety of the faculty, staff and students at each campus is our highest priority. The University of Alabama System has updated its Interim Emergency Policy in response to the public health risks posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This is designated as an interim policy due to the dynamic nature of available information on COVID-19. This policy may be revised on short notice as new information becomes available.
Travel Restrictions and Guidelines
Effective today, March 4, 2020, the University of Alabama System is cancelling ALL University-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is scheduled to depart in the month of March. Faculty, staff and students MAY NOT TRAVEL anywhere outside the United States for University business or academic purposes (“University-sponsored travel”), including but not limited to study abroad or other international academic work, research or grant activity, internships, conferences or presentations, teaching or training, performances, recruiting, or athletic competitions.
Additionally, University-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is scheduled to depart after the month of March is suspended effective immediately. Regarding future university-sponsored travel outside of the United States beyond March, this is a complex decision that is based on new and evolving information. Decisions on those future programs are ON HOLD and will be addressed as soon as possible.
Due to the expanding global outbreak, the significant risk of exposure during international travel, and guidance from experts in public health and infectious disease, we expect full cooperation and compliance with this Updated Interim Policy to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Faculty, staff, students, and visiting students and scholars who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
Personal Travel and Travel with Affiliate Programs
While this policy does not inhibit or restrict the travel of individuals traveling on personal business or affiliate programs (i.e., travel that is not university sponsored but related to academic or business pursuits – e.g., travel through another institution or program), the UA System strongly encourages our faculty, staff, and students to consider this Updated Policy when making decisions to continue on or schedule travel to any of the impacted countries.
If you choose to travel internationally for personal reasons or with affiliate programs, you will be subject to any regulations and advisories of the U.S. government and other relevant agencies. Personal travelers and those traveling with affiliate programs will be required to comply with all U.S. re-entry and quarantine requirements in place, and must verify to the University that they have done so prior to returning to the university community. Employees and students taking personal trips to an impacted country (including layovers through an impacted country) must be prepared to comply with self-isolation requirements upon their return.
A list of travel watch, alert and warning levels a is maintained on the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Travel From Impacted Countries
Any and all travelers returning to the U.S. or coming to the U.S. to participate in University-sponsored business or programs, must comply with all U.S. re-entry, quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements in place before returning to or engaging with the university community. Travelers must provide verification from the ADPH or their health provider confirming they have completed the appropriate monitoring process. To the extent a traveler is monitored or otherwise reporting to the University during any monitoring period, the traveler must receive express approval from the University in order to return to the University community.
For travelers returning to campus due to these travel restrictions, the following applies:
- Employees – Each campus’s Human Resources representatives will work with departments to support you and to ensure compliance with these applicable restrictions and quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements.
- Faculty – Each campus’s Human Resources representatives will work with departments to support you and to ensure compliance with these applicable restrictions and quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements.
- Students – Each campus’s Office for Student Affairs and International Study-Abroad office will work with the appropriate deans and academic offices to ensure students who must observe a quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirement are not penalized academically and receive assistance, if necessary, with related matters.
- Medical Residents and Fellows – Residents and fellows returning from travel to or through an impacted country must call their program directors to determine how missed rotation times due to a quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirement will be managed. The Graduate Medical Education office will ask program directors to remind any residents and fellows who have returned from travel to or through an impacted country within the past 14 days to contact the Student/Employee Health Service on their campus immediately.
- Visitors – Visitors (e.g., scholars, student interns, applicants, family, guests) who traveled from or through an impacted country may not come to campus (including off-campus U.S. sites) will be subject to all quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirement. Visiting scholars and student interns traveling on visas who are coming from or going through an impacted country will be subject to all quarantine, self-isolation or self-monitoring requirements. Any visiting scholars or student interns traveling on a visa, but who have not yet departed, should be asked to delay their travel until further notice.
Resources and Updates
We understand that many members of our community may have upcoming spring break travel, conferences or summer study abroad plans that this Policy may affect. We further understand that the longer the travel restrictions remain in place, more questions will arise related to future plans for international travel. To assess the impact of the virus on faculty, staff, and students, a dedicated team comprised of members from throughout the UA System, including our clinical and infection prevention experts, is monitoring the outbreak and utilizing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and international governments and health agencies. Administrators at each campus are continuously evaluating and receiving advice on potential impacts and will provide future information and guidance.
These travel restrictions will be evaluated on an on-going basis. For up-to-date health and campus policy information concerning 2019 novel Coronavirus, please visit your campus resource page found here:
- University of Alabama: http://international.ua.edu/isss/
- University of Alabama at Birmingham: https://www.uab.edu/news/coronavirus#uab-updates
- University of Alabama in Huntsville: https://www.uah.edu/announcements/fac-staff/14622-coronavirus-precaution