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Tulane monitoring COVID-19; issues guidance, travel policies

March 03, 2020 2:15 PM
Tulane Today staff today@tulane.edu
While there are no known cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Orleans or Louisiana at this time nor any known cases involving Tulane students, faculty, staff or affiliates to date, university leaders have developed COVID-19 resources and policies for members of the Tulane community, especially those who may be traveling or planning to travel. (iStock image)


Tulane University continues to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national and international health agencies regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


University leaders, who stress that this is a dynamic situation that is continuously evolving, will continue to send updates to the Tulane community regarding travel restrictions and preventive measures. These messages emphasize that the immediate health risk to the United States and to members of the Tulane community remains low, but the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 globally is high.


In January, Tulane activated its COVID-19 Emergency Operations Team, including members of Campus Health, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, the Provost’s Office, and infectious disease specialists from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine. Their goal is to prepare and be as proactive as possible in addressing the unfolding situation. Tulane’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Team has developed FAQs regarding the outbreak.


The university is following Department of State and the CDC travel advisories and is restricting travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 travel advisory or a State Department Level 4 travel advisory. Tulane students, faculty and staff were told that they may not travel to countries on these lists for university business or university academic purposes, including but not limited to study abroad, internships, academic work for credit, service, conferences or presentations, teaching, training, performances, recruiting or athletic competitions.


Travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 travel advisory or State Department Level 4 travel advisory for personal reasons is strongly discouraged, and hosting incoming visitors traveling from these countries for university-related purposes — such as visiting lecturers, scholars or researchers — now requires prior approval of the provost and the school dean or appropriate vice president before the visitor’s arrival.


University officials added that students, faculty and staff who are currently in any of these countries for university business or academic purposes should leave that country.

“The university is communicating directly with students in the impacted study abroad programs and is working with them to ensure either their safe return to the United States or placement in other programs to minimize disruption to their academic studies,” the message stated.


The message went on to note that it is mandatory for all Tulane international travelers who are traveling on university-related purposes (not personal travel) to have registered with Global Rescue so the university can locate travelers whenever necessary and offer support, including evacuation assistance, as needed.


If university faculty, staff, students, scholars or visitors traveled somewhere that has a coronavirus outbreak and subsequently develop a fever, cough or breathing issues, they should contact the Student Health Center Nurse Advice Line at (504) 862-8121 or after hours (855) 487-0290. They should indicate that they have traveled to an area with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 


In addition, faculty, staff, students, scholars and visitors arriving from a country on the CDC Level 3 travel advisory list or State Department Level 4 travel advisory list may be required to self-isolate for up to 14 days upon their arrival in the United States, as determined by healthcare professionals in alignment with CDC guidance.


Tulanians were also reminded to follow everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs.


Click here to read more about Tulanes resources for coronavirus, including updates from university leaders.