March 11, 2020

UNM announces travel restrictions, other coronavirus plans

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The University of New Mexico is banning most travel to areas impacted by the coronavirus, including all areas of the United States that have declared states of emergency over the growing pandemic.

UNM President Garnett Stokes announced this in an email to UNM students and staff on Tuesday.

The university is also discussing “everything from sick leave to how we can accommodate classes remotely if needed,” Stokes wrote. In addition, the email says UNM’s “clinical facilities are prepared to receive a patient with COVID-19.”

The university also outlined cases where they will ask students, staff or faculty to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes anyone who has come into contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus or who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Those who travel out of state may also be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Several colleges around the country have switched to online classes in an attempt to slow the growth of the virus that has infected hundreds across the country according to official numbers from testing. The virus’ spread has prompted more drastic actions in other countries, including Italy, which recently restricted travel for the entire nation. 

According to Stokes’ email, UNM canceled all university-related travel to countries with Level 2 or 3 health notices from the Centers for Disease Control. The countries currently on Level 3 restrictions because of coronavirus, to which the CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel, are China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Japan is the lone country currently deemed Level 2 due to coronavirus. The CDC recommends travelers “practice enhanced precautions” when traveling to Japan.

In addition, ten states have declared states of emergency, including New York, California and Washington.

If university staff wants to travel to one of these areas on university business, they must get approval from “the appropriate executive vice president.” Employees must inform their supervisors, main campus students must inform the dean of students and Health Science Center and branch campus students must inform Student Affairs offices for any travel to any state with a state of emergency related to coronavirus.