Published on February 27, 2020  

Campus Community,

We are actively monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December.  To date, there are no reports of cases involving COVID-19 on the Samford campus, and there are no confirmed cases in Alabama.  However, the number of cases continues to grow worldwide. 

The university’s Emergency Readiness Team is meeting regularly to review the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and public health organizations.  We are proactively implementing measures to ensure that the campus is prepared should the virus become widespread in the U.S. and to ensure the safety of our students and employees traveling internationally for university-related activities.

The health and safety of our students and employees is our top priority.  With this in mind, we are considering all measures—drastic and minimal—to safeguard our campus community.  This could include requiring registration of all international travel, potentially altering some study abroad experiences and the possibility of delivering university courses online through Canvas or other virtual modalities.  Additional information will be shared as plans evolve. 

Please keep in mind that this is a rapidly evolving situation and the recommendations in place today could change if the virus spreads and as new information is gained.  We have developed this webpage that provides Samford-specific updates and advisories as well as links to helpful resources related to prevention and travel.  Please monitor this webpage and your e-mail for the latest information.

Please review the following important updates:

Travel

Effective immediately, the university is suspending all university-sponsored travel to countries the CDC has listed as level 2 or level 3 risks for coronavirus. Countries currently at these levels are China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan.  Travel to Hong Kong is also suspended. The university’s International Travel Advisory Committee will continue to monitor CDC updates and will take additional steps as other countries are added to the list.  Please keep in mind that as circumstances change we may suspend travel to additional countries at any time.

Personal travel by members of the Samford community to the areas cited above is strongly discouraged.  Should you choose to visit one of these areas, you must be evaluated by a health care provider prior to returning to campus and you may be subject to a 14 day quarantine at your own expense.  If you travel to an area that is added to the restricted travel list within 14 days of your return, you may also be required to self-quarantine. 

In accordance with the university’s international travel policy, all faculty, staff, and students traveling internationally for university-related activities must register their travel.  If you have questions about this, please contact the Global Engagement Office

Should there be changes to any previously scheduled international travel programs, students will be notified directly by the Global Engagement Office.  If you have questions about your program, you may contact Global Engagement directly. 

Prevention

Individual risk is highly dependent on exposure.  For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.  However, you should continue to take everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.  You should wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; practice good cough and sneeze hygiene; and avoid close contact with people who are sick.  You should also regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

At any time, if you believe you may have been exposed to or infected with the coronavirus you should seek medical care right away.  Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.  University Health Services is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

We continue to carefully monitor this issue and additional updates will be forthcoming.  Thank you for your vigilance and cooperation in helping to ensure the health and safety of our community. 

Best…Buck

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