By Nikayla Goddard, February 28 2020—
After “careful consideration of the risks to the campus community,” reads the email sent out this afternoon by Dru Marshall, Provost and Vice-President Academic, travel to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore has been banned until September 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. This suspension is directed to students and non-academic staff, though academic staff are also encouraged to avoid travel.
Students and faculty who are presently in the suspended countries have been contacted and “strongly suggested” that they “immediately” return to Canada.
“Our decision was made after reviewing and assessing key medical information and updates from global health experts that advise against all nonessential travel to areas affected by the virus due to the potential health risks,” reads Marshall’s statement. “We’re concerned for the safety and well-being of our campus community.”
For those travelling abroad in spring and summer 2020, the email cited that alternate arrangements will be made for them. There is no mention of whether Fall 2020 Travel Abroad will be affected as of yet, but Werklund’s Teaching Across Borders (TAB) has said that their plan is to move forward with preparations for TAB 2020, though to hold off on purchasing flights, and a new evaluation will take place May 1. If travel is still banned, TAB has said that “alternative placements” will be discussed.
In the past weeks, the university has made several steps to ensuring the campus is kept up to date on the status of COVID-19, including a Coronavirus website and updated emergency plans in the event that a public health emergency should occur.