On Tuesday, Sam Houston State University’s emergency notification system, KatSafe, sent out an email establishing travel restrictions and guidelines in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases worldwide.
The email stated that all study abroad programs are suspended until August 2020, all university funded international travel for faculty, staff and students is cancelled through May 2020, cancellation of planned summer travel will be reviewed individually and for personal travel, campus community members should follow quarantine protocols as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SHSU Director of Marketing and Communications and PIO Stephanie Knific said the university made the decision to set the travel restrictions mainly based on suggestions from government entities.
“While this decision was not made lightly, the university’s number one concern is the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff,” Knific said. “Due to threats posed by the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the travel restrictions for all study abroad programs and university-funded international travel are based largely on recommendations and advisories from both the Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control.”
The CDC encourages institutions of higher education to plan and prepare as the global outbreak evolves. Administrators are encouraged to review, update and implement emergency operations plans, develop information sharing system, perform routine environmental cleaning and more to help their community as COVID-19 spreads.
Knific said the Office of International Programs is actively working with individual students who were going on the suspended trips to find the best ways to handle reimbursement for airfare, lodging and programs.
Knific said the university will continue to monitor COVID-19 and make program changes accordingly.
“Conditions in any country, including the United States, may change at any time,” Knific said. “The university is actively monitoring guidance, which may require further adjustments.”