February 28, 2020
Dear Tulane community:
The university continues to follow information and expert national and international recommendations regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The virus has spread to South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan, among other places. To date, there are no known cases in Louisiana and no known cases involving our students, faculty, staff, or affiliates. Currently, the immediate health risk to members of the Tulane community is considered low. However, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 globally is high, so this risk assessment to our community may change. We must be prudently cautious, and we will continue to assess our community's situation. We are actively monitoring all of our student, faculty, and staff travel around the world, and we will work with them and travel providers to ensure their safety. We will share additional information should the current level of concern change.
Following the recommendations of local, state, and national health authorities to make sure we are undertaking evidence-informed procedures, the university has not made changes to classes, activities, operations, or events on our Tulane campuses. Please be assured, however, that discussions are underway for potential impacts to the remainder of the semester, Spring Break, and Summer Sessions.
As we continue this work to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible, it is essential that everyone at Tulane remain supportive and welcoming towards all members of our community. Discrimination or harassment on the basis of someone's nation of origin has no place at Tulane.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its travel advisories related to COVID-19, issuing a Level 3 Travel Warning (the highest level of warning), urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea. This is in addition to the current Level 3 Travel Warning for China. The U.S. Department of State has also issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory (reconsider travel) for South Korea. As a result, the university is now restricting student, faculty, and staff travel to South Korea until further notice.
Using the same framework as that in place for China, any Tulane employee, faculty, or staff who wishes to travel to South Korea for university business must submit a written request to the appropriate dean. On approval by the dean, the request must then be sent to the Provost for review and final approval (firstname.lastname@example.org). Because of various associated travel restrictions, any such request must include confirmation of an evacuation plan. In addition, travelers will be required to comply with appropriate safety precautions and protocols as recommended by the CDC and other authorities.
Iran, Italy, and Japan
The CDC has also issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory, Practice Enhanced Precautions for Iran, Italy, and Japan. The CDC says that, "these destinations are experiencing sustained community transmission… Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel." Tulane is closely following these alerts and will act if conditions change. Any planned travel to areas that have Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisories should be strongly reconsidered.
It is possible that travel restrictions could increase and prohibit travel to and from those countries at any time. Please make sure that you have evaluated any impact to individuals hoping to travel and the needs of those who might need to return to the U.S. As this situation is rapidly changing, we strongly encourage you to re-evaluate and consider changing planned travel to countries with Alert Level 2.
Please be sure you have registered any upcoming or planned international travel to these or other areas with GLOBAL RESCUE.
If you did not register your travel with Global Rescue, please do so now as this is required of all university travelers to ensure that we are able to locate travelers whenever necessary and offer appropriate support — including evacuation assistance. Please be aware of travel restrictions regardless of where you are based. For example, if you are studying in Spain and travel to Italy, you could have difficulty leaving Italy due to travel restrictions. Please notify your sponsoring program as well as your sponsoring department at Tulane if you are affected by travel restrictions. Students who are uncomfortable remaining abroad, or whose programs have closed down, should contact their sponsoring department to explore options for completing their semester coursework.
Travelers returning to Tulane from South Korea, Iran, Italy, or Japan
If you have recently (within 14 days) traveled to or from Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea, or if you have been around people who have been in one of these countries within the past 14 days, then you should call the Tulane Student Health Center for a medical screening. Call +1-504-862-8121 during business hours (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and +1-855-487-0290 after 5 p.m. This is applicable for all Tulane faculty, staff, students, scholars, and their families.
Tulane has published a series of FAQs around COVID-19 and will continue to update these as needed. We are in contact with our study abroad programs in these impacted countries and support the safety measures that they are implementing to keep program participants safe. We continue to support our travelers who are abroad and our international community during these difficult times.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer