Mar. 3, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas— St. Edward’s University is actively monitoring impacts of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and we are continuing to take the necessary precautions to minimize negative effects to our campus community.

The university’s Risk and Emergency Management Team (REMT) guides the university’s risk management program, approves all campus-wide emergency plans and directs the university’s preparedness in all types of situations that may have adverse impacts on the students, faculty and staff of the university. REMT is communicating on a daily basis to make timely decisions and recommendations regarding this issue. Workgroups focused on business continuity procedures and support of study abroad programs have been activated. Additionally, all university-sponsored employee international travel planned for Spring or Summer 2020 will be reviewed to determine coronavirus impact at the destination(s) and assess safety considerations.

The coronavirus has become an epidemic with global reach and news about the spread of the virus is changing rapidly. In light of this uncertainty, St. Edward’s University has taken the following steps to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff members:

Suspension of some study abroad programs

The Study Abroad Office is working with students and faculty members whose plans for international study are affected by COVID-19. Staff members are focused on the health and safety of participants and mitigating academic disruption to the extent possible. Regular updates from the Study Abroad Office are available on the university’s website.

University programs in China and South Korea have been suspended for spring 2020. Students have been redirected to other appropriate programs or have delayed their travel to a later semester.

Due to the heightened level of travel warnings by the U.S. State Department for the Lombardy region of Italy, students studying abroad in Milan have been recalled from their study abroad experience.

Given the level of uncertainty related to travel and the likelihood of disruption to scheduled in-country programming, the travel component of a graduate business course to Japan has been canceled. The on-campus portion of the class will begin as scheduled.

Support from the university’s Health & Counseling Center

The Health & Counseling Center is sharing all recent advisories and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization. Staff members are helping our university community manage anxiety and concern by providing disease prevention tips and working to set the proper perspective on news reports about the virus.

Through the university’s partnership with United Healthcare, students now have access to telehealth resources. Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) member and non-member students can access remote services for both medical and counseling needs.

Students are provided access to flu shots. Students can get vaccinated at the Health & Counseling Clinic by calling 512-448-8686 for an appointment. Faculty and staff can get a flu shot from their healthcare providers or most large retail pharmacies.

During this time, it is especially important that all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors remain informed of university recommendations and expectations regarding disease prevention and to follow prevention tips given by medical professionals. As a reminder, the CDC advises following the same precautions for all types of respiratory viruses:

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap is not available.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and don’t eat, drink or smoke after others.

It is critical that employees do not report to work if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose or body aches. Students who are ill with these symptoms should communicate with their professors about completing work outside the classroom so as not to infect other students. These precautions, along with getting sufficient sleep, managing stress and maintaining a healthy diet can keep our campus well.