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COVID-19 guidance for faculty and staff on international travel

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Dear UW-Madison faculty and staff,

I am requesting your support in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 (or novel coronavirus) in our community. We’re reminding those faculty and staff who are either planning or returning from international trips to follow a set of additional precautions.

  • For those faculty and staff returning from Italy, South Korea and mainland China or any other country under a Level 3 CDC Travel Health Notice, when you arrive home, you should not return to the workplace for 14 days. To protect the community, you should self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) during this time. This guidance applies to both personal and business-related trips. Self-quarantine or isolation means staying at home and not going to your workplace, campus or out in your community. Please contact your supervisor or HR representative for more information about remote work and leave options; campus policies for these remain in effect.
  • For those returning from any location under a Level 2 CDC Travel Health Notice, we advise that when you arrive home, you self-monitor for 14 days for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
  • If you develop symptoms, please call your health provider before going to seek care.
  • In addition, if you have upcoming international travel plans for either Spring Break or other business-related reasons, it is advisable to reconsider them. There could be substantial travel delays and/or new restrictions, along with possible prolonged isolation when you return home, with significant impact on your personal and professional plans.

The CDC maintains a travel information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. If you have travel insurance, you may want to review your plan to ensure it does not exclude pandemic outbreaks. UW-Madison’s CISI international health and medical insurance policy specifically excludes security evacuation due to the risk of pandemic/epidemic disease, although the medical evacuation benefit for a traveler who falls ill due to disease and requires further care remains intact under the policy.

UW–Madison continues to actively monitor this global health crisis, while also planning ahead to mitigate the impact should it spread more widely. UW-Madison is also reviewing plans in case of large-scale absenteeism of faculty and staff and how it could impact the semester.

To help prevent the spread of any disease, University Health Services recommends following these general best health practices to prevent sickness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and cough and sneeze into your elbow

If you have any questions about these recommendations, please contact your school, college or unit human resources representative. Additional guidance may be forthcoming.

Information about COVID-19 is available at the UHS COVID-19 informational website on uhs.wisc.edu.  This comprehensive website has resources, updates, and answers commonly asked questions about COVID-19.

I appreciate everyone’s support during this challenging situation. Our goal is to work together to ensure our students, faculty and staff, our campus and our community remain safe.

Jake Baggott
Executive Director, University Health Services
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Health and Wellbeing