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Update on COVID-19 and study abroad

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To our campus community,

As COVID-19 – previously known as 2019 novel coronavirus – continues to spread across the world, we want to share that the risk to UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students remains low.

UW–Madison continues to actively monitor this global health crisis in collaboration with Public Health Madison & Dane County, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Anyone believed to be at risk for COVID-19 will be contacted by Public Health Madison & Dane County.

Under guidance from the CDC, UW–Madison has suspended university-sponsored programming in Italy, South Korea, and mainland China. Students who were overseas have been advised to return to their permanent address in the United States, to self-quarantine for 14 days (stay home and do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social gatherings) and to monitor for fever, cough, and difficulty breathing following their arrival. We do not anticipate the majority of these students returning immediately to the UW–Madison campus. The university is providing direct support and resource information to all students who will be transitioning back to the U.S.

The CDC and Wisconsin health officials shared this week that the United States is preparing for the possibility of widespread transmission. In this event, plans might include the limiting of campus activities. University Health Services (UHS) is continuing to collaborate with public health partners and area health care providers to make sure that should a case present itself, the campus is able to limit or prevent further spread.

UW–Madison is also preparing through the efforts of health and safety leaders from across campus. Dating back to H1N1 in 2009, we have a set of protocols and plans that we’re in the process of reviewing and updating.

So what else should you do to protect yourself?

At this time, UHS recommends following 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.

Continue to visit the UHS COVID-19 informational website on uhs.wisc.edu. This comprehensive website has resources, updates, and answers commonly asked questions about COVID-19. Please take time to review the FAQs.

It’s important to keep in mind that we’re all in this together and need to continue to act with empathy and understanding. COVID-19 is not specific to an ethnicity or race. No one should be discriminated against or harassed based on their identity or travel history. If you experience discrimination or harassment, we encourage you to report it so appropriate action can be taken. Students may contact the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Compliance and employees may contact their human resources representative or the Office of Compliance.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide additional updates to the campus community.

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