Southeast Missouri State University student publication

University suspends travel in light of coronavirus

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

All university-affiliated travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea was suspended effective March 4 in accordance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, according to a letter penned by University President Carlos Vargas to the Southeast community in light of the coronavirus.

That was the second letter Vargas sent to the community in regards to the coronavirus, with the first communications taking place in late January.

Vargas sent a preparedness update to university stakeholders on March 10, which included a campus advisory timeline and actions taken by the university regarding COVID-19.

On March 11, Southeast restricted all non-essential university-sponsored and supported domestic and international travel until further notice, according to its website.

This includes any non-essential travel connected to university activities or programs for all faculty, staff and students.

The university canceled multiple student expenditures to foreign countries out of “an abundance of caution,” according to Vargas.

One such trip was a spring break study abroad trip to London, France and Germany which would have included two faculty and some 25 students. The second trip was student teaching practicums in Chile scheduled to begin in April, affecting five students.

According to Vargas, faculty are working with the students to identify alternative ways for the students to complete the credit hours.

One faculty member canceled a trip to Japan, according to Vargas.

He said the President’s Office is working to compile a list of employee off-campus travel now through spring or early summer to “assist in ongoing conversations related to travel and to provide awareness in the event additional travel guidance is issued or disruptions are encountered.”

With spring break around the corner, the university urged students and faculty to consider the necessity of personal travel, and to avoid international travel.