Coronavirus Updates

Email from Provost Ka Yee C. Lee (Mar. 3, 2020)

From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Kenneth S. Polonsky, Executive Vice President of the University for Biology and Medicine
Subject: Travel Updates Regarding Coronavirus

As we continue to evolve the University’s public health precautions in response to developments with coronavirus (COVID-19), we are writing to update you on the University’s new travel guidelines and other health measures informed by the most recent assessments by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health.

No students, faculty, staff, or others in our Hyde Park campus community have tested positive for COVID-19.  Our medical center is currently evaluating patients from outside the University for the virus and will continue to evaluate any patient with potential symptoms of COVID-19 in collaboration with local health department officials and the CDC. The medical center is taking all recommended public health precautions with any patient under evaluation.

For the general University population, the following updated travel guidelines are intended to lower the risk of exposure:

  • With a growing number of countries reporting widespread transmission of COVID-19, the University strongly discourages travel to any country with a CDC travel health notice of Level 3 (currently, China, Italy, Iran and South Korea). Because these advisories have been extended to additional countries, we advise checking the University’s COVID-19 information page and the CDC’s travel notices for the latest information.
  • Any traveler who has returned from a country with a CDC Level 3 travel health notice should not attend school or work for 14 days after their return date, following Chicago Department of Public Health guidelines. This self-isolation period also applies to visitors to the University. Individuals should work directly with their departments to facilitate academic, research, or work continuity.
  • Anyone who has returned from a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 country in the past 14 days and going forward is strongly advised to fill out this simple form with information about their trip. This will help the University work with public health authorities to limit exposure in the event of a positive test case. If the CDC puts in place an additional designation for travel to domestic locations, we will communicate and follow those guidelines as well.
  • While Level 3 is the CDC’s highest alert, please bear in mind that the situation is continuing to change in many countries that have had COVID-19 cases. Following guidelines from the CDC, we are carefully monitoring the situation in countries where the University has study abroad programs. The University will follow up separately with study abroad participants to provide additional information related to planning for their spring programs.

Anyone who has traveled to an area with reported community spread and has developed respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should stay home except to get medical care. People with such symptoms should call ahead before visiting your primary care provider, and contact coronavirusinfo@uchicago.edu. University representatives will immediately notify CDPH and help provide individualized guidance.

Please continue to check the University’s COVID-19 page for more information about these travel guidelines and other public health measures. We ask that members of our community continue to support each other, avoid uninformed assumptions, and base your decisions about travel and health precautions on the best available information.

For additional information on COVID-19, please visit coronavirusupdates.uchicago.edu. Further health information is available from UChicago Medicine, CDPH, and the CDC.

Please contact coronavirusinfo@uchicago.edu if you need guidance, resources, or assistance.