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UT Permian Basin is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak globally and is receiving guidance from The University of Texas System and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To assess the impact of the virus on the University community and its study abroad programs, a dedicated team is monitoring the outbreak and developing an appropriate response.  The goal is to promote the health, safety, and well-being of the University community.   

Current Situation   

  • There are currently no UTPB faculty, staff, or students who have reported symptoms or a diagnosis of coronavirus disease.  
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have assigned risk levels to various countries. Their website also provides a map of the number of cases each country has reported.   
  • Worsening conditions in Europe, Asia, and around the world could result in countries closing their borders to travel with little advance warning as the outbreak spreads.  
  • The University of Texas System requires each of its academic and health institutions to assess the health, safety, and security risks of University-sponsored international travel, with special consideration for high-risk travel. The UTPB International Oversight Committee along with University administration oversee this process.   

UTPB Action Steps  

Official University Travel:     

  • UTPB has made the decision to prohibit all University travel (this includes any travel paid by the University or any travel related to employment at UTPB) to any level two or level three countries, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  
  • Level 3 countries include: China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and most of Europe  
  • Level 2 countries include: Japan  
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
  • Please keep in mind this list changes as the severity and spread of the illness grows.   
  • This decision has not been made lightly and is based on the best guidance from The University of Texas System and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has also issued  Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Educationwhich says: “Given the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), institutes of higher education (IHE) should consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs.”   
  • We are reviewing all University-related travel and pending travel, including all study abroad and faculty research trips.  
  • You should report any plans to travel outside the contiguous United States for University-related work. Faculty should report this information through email to Dr. Dan Heimmermann Heimmermann_d@utpb.edu ; staff should email Mr. Cesar Valenzuela Valenzuela_c@utpb.edu ; and students should email Dr. Becky Spurlock Spurlock_b@utpb.edu.    

Spring Break and Personal Travel

Per guidance from The UT System, all international travel (both professional and personal) to CDC level 2 and 3 countries must be reported to the institution. 

Report International Travel: 
Faculty: Dr. Dan Heimmermann (heimmermann_d@utpb.edu)
Staff: Mr. Cesar Valenzuela (valenzuela_c@utpb.edu)
Students: Dr. Becky Spurlock (spurlock_b@utpb.edu)

For travel outside of level 2 and level 3 areas, all travelers should check the CDC’s COVID-19 travel page, State Department travel advisories, and the International Air Transport Association’s list of travel and entry restrictions for the latest information before departing. Travelers should also consider how their planned trips may affect their ability to return to the United States and campus. If trip cancellation insurance is available to purchase, travelers may consider purchasing it in case last minute cancellation is needed. This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation and it is difficult to anticipate what the future may hold. Those traveling should allot additional time for airport screening measures, which generally include temperature checks and questionnaires, and should follow directives from authorities. No one should travel while sick, lest they risk additional screening measures, potential entry denial, and quarantine. Additionally, anyone who is sick risks spreading germs and infection to others. The CDC answers other common travel-related questions, including the risk of infection on airplanes, here.

Basic Precautions:

The Coronavirus is thought to be spread mainly from person to person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. To avoid becoming sick, basic flu safety precautions include:

  • People who think they may have been exposed to coronavirus should call their healthcare provider immediately. The CDC says that symptoms of this respiratory illness are similar to that of the seasonal flu, which may include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, and are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with others until you have no fever.

Related Links:

WHO COVID-19 Myth-busters

CDC COVID-19 Know the Facts

UTS 190 International Travel Policy

CDC Travel Page

State Department Travel Advisories

International Air Transport Association’s List

Other COVID-19 CDC Links