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President Leahy on Spring Break Travel

To the Members of the Monmouth University Community:

As you are aware from our previous updates, as well as from the abundance of information being shared publicly, the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread. We continue to monitor this situation and take guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and local county health officials.

University Sponsored Travel

Following the March 2, 2020 guidance from the NJDOH advising universities to postpone or cancel study abroad programs that could expose students and staff to the potential community spread of COVID-19, I have made the decision to suspend all University-sponsored spring break study abroad travel, effective immediately. The university is working with the students and faculty to examine the ramifications of the suspensions, including financial penalties. At the moment, only the travel portion of the courses are suspended, which means that faculty will be working on alternate protocols to deliver other units and course content.  I’ve asked faculty members to communicate directly with their students.  As of now, this suspension applies to international trips and travel only. All domestic trips, conference travel, and other travel on university business during the next few weeks, including spring break travel, remain unaffected by this suspension. Please stay tuned for periodic updates as we continue to monitor the situation and comply with CDC and other government issued guidelines.

As for upcoming trips in the summer, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide ongoing guidelines.

Given the rapidly evolving situation, I feel it is important that we take all available precautions to support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. While this means that some students and faculty must forgo opportunities for global learning and service at this time, we will continue to monitor the situation for future planning purposes and will assist affected students who have concerns related to academic progress and recouping costs from our travel partners.

Personal Travel

Since the situation is changing daily and will likely continue to do so in the coming weeks, we encourage you to monitor the CDC and the U.S. Department of State websites regarding your personal travel plans, and consider postponing personal international travel until the CDC lifts its travel warnings and feels that COVID-19 is under control.

If you are planning any personal travel to an international destination, we highly recommend that you inform yourself on the healthcare system status of your travel destination, and that you stay advised of potential disruptions to your re-entry to the United States and your ability to return successfully to the Monmouth University campus.

We may advise members of the University community who travel internationally to an area of concern to remain off campus for 14 days due to the incubation period for this virus.  If you feel ill during this time and/or have a fever, you should contact your health care provider or call the Monmouth University Health Center prior to being seen. You may call the Health Center for a telephone screening at 732-571-3464 so they may best direct your care.

General Practice

Whether you plan to travel or not, I urge you to be especially diligent in practicing behaviors that help prevent the spread of disease, including washing your hands, avoiding shaking hands, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available), and staying home if you are sick.

We will continue to update you as necessary through email and on our COVID-19 information webpage. The Crisis Management Team will continue to monitor this situation and lead the coordinated response for our campus.

Thank you for your cooperation as we work to keep our campus community healthy and safe.

Patrick F. Leahy
President