Dear UWM students, faculty, and staff,
The situation internationally and within the United States regarding COVID-19 has continued to evolve rapidly. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in the city of Milwaukee or in Waukesha or Washington counties. Our campus community, like many other communities that are in areas where there is not local transmission, is still at low risk.
In the past two days, the (national) CDC and state and local public health officials have provided separate guidance for higher education institutions. Their guidance emphasizes important and unique issues for higher education to consider and the importance of preparedness. UWM’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Team and Crisis Management Team have been closely monitoring the situation and working closely with public health professionals.
We have taken a number of important steps before and as a result of the new guidance. UWM developed an Interim International Travel Policy to establish clear guidelines for the restriction of student study abroad programs and faculty and staff travel. UWM suspended university-sponsored programming in Level 3 Travel Warning countries, which include Italy, South Korea, and mainland China. All UWM study abroad students who are returning from Level 3 countries have been asked to follow public health guidelines and self-quarantine (stay home and do not go to work, classes, athletics events or other social gatherings) at their permanent home address for 14 days and to monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Given upcoming spring break travel, both locally and abroad, by many members of our campus community, it is important to re-emphasize key items within the International Travel Policy as well as our expectations of all returning international travelers.
Faculty and Staff Travel
If you are a faculty or staff member planning University-sponsored travel to a Level 3 CDC or Level 3 or Level 4 Department of State country, you are required to complete a Travel Risk Assessment Form to be submitted for review.
Self-Quarantine for All Travelers to Certain Countries
Consistent with recent state and CDC guidelines for the general public, all travelers returning from Level 3 countries should self-quarantine for 14 days in order to further support the health and well-being of their communities. For those returning from any location that is 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). For more details related to self-quarantine and self-monitoring details are provided on the Department of Health Services website. If you become ill, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider and the local health department for further instructions.
Reporting to Local Public Health Authorities
UWM is being asked to report the names of travelers who are known to be returning from Level 3 countries to local public health authorities. Local public health authorities will contact you and provide support and resources.
Work Arrangements during Self-Quarantine
Employees returning from Level 3 countries should self-quarantine for 14 days and contact their supervisor to request time off. You must use sick leave or other leave time if you are advised to -self-quarantine unless your supervisor is able to plan for you to work remotely.
Student Housing during Self-Quarantine
Students returning from a Level 3 country who live in University Housing should plan to return to their permanent home address or other off-campus location for the duration of the 14-day self-quarantine. If they do not have such an alternative, University Housing may be able to assist you by calling (414) 229-4065.
Student Class Attendance during Self-Quarantine
Students returning from a Level 3 country should not attend classes that require in-person participation. They should contact their instructor to discuss possible alternatives for completing coursework. The Dean of Students office is available to assist you by calling (414) 229-4632.
As this situation continues to evolve, guidelines may change, and it is likely that there will be additional countries and areas within the U.S. where widespread community transmission is occurring. Please monitor CDC and Department of State sites before and during all travel for the most recent information. Enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a good way to get up-to-date information. You may also consult UWM’s COVID-19 website and UW System’s Coronavirus Preparedness website.
Julie Bonner, MD
Campus Health Officer
Executive Director Norris Health Center,
University Counseling and Health Promotion