I am writing to give you all an update regarding the coronavirus outbreak and the action steps UTSA is taking to keep our community safe. While the immediate risk to our campus continues to be low, we are taking proactive measures in order to mitigate this emerging public health threat.
Roadrunners Studying and Working Overseas
Earlier this year, we worked with approximately 40 students, faculty and staff returning from visits to China, Korea and Japan, all of whom were asymptomatic for coronavirus. Following guidelines set by San Antonio Metro Health, we did health assessments with these individuals and implemented best practices around self-isolation off-campus for 14 days upon their return.
This morning, I contacted all UTSA students, trainees, staff and faculty currently overseas to notify them about requirements for health assessments to further ascertain they are symptom free before traveling home. I also informed them about requirements for self-isolation off-campus for 14 days before returning to school or work. All of our 70 students, faculty and staff being recalled from Italy were assessed prior to their departure, and all are asymptomatic. We are working closely with them to make arrangements for their 14-day self-isolation requirement upon their return to the United States.
We are in direct communication with all our returning Roadrunners to ensure they have housing, food and support during their self-isolation period. More detailed information on the self-isolation requirement can be found on our Coronavirus FAQs website.
It is important to note that there are currently no UTSA faculty, staff or students who have been overseas or who are overseas presently who have reported symptoms or a diagnosis of coronavirus. Any questions regarding overseas travel can be directed to Lisa Montoya, vice provost for global initiatives.
We are taking proactive steps to be as prepared as possible to ensure the safety of our community as the coronavirus situation evolves in the weeks to come. This planning is simply precautionary, and we will continue to work closely with UT System and San Antonio officials on prevention and protection efforts for our university and our large, multinational city.
Members of UTSA’s emergency response team are meeting regularly to discuss operational and contingency plans, which include telecommuting and related policies, online academics, housing/dining contingencies and readiness of critical equipment, supplies and facilities.
As always, the most important thing we can all do is vigilantly practice everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs.
Although public health officials have indicated there is currently no threat to our local community, feelings of stress and concern are natural given the level of attention surrounding the coronavirus. I encourage all Roadrunners to seek support if needed. Students can contact Counseling and Mental Health Services, and staff/faculty can call the Employee Assistance Program.
UTSA’s Coronavirus website will continue to be a centralized source for information and updates pertinent to the Roadrunner community. As always, our commitment to ensuring the health, safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is our first priority. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and to facilitate pathways for our community to learn, work and live with as little disruption as possible.