MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University has canceled its summer study abroad trips, and no further international business travel is authorized for students, faculty and staff through Aug. 1, 2020 due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak, according to WIU Interim Provost Billy Clow. WIU students, faculty and staff are also encouraged not to visit areas with high numbers of reported cases within the U.S.
Trips had been scheduled in May and June to Scotland and England, Nepal, New York City, Germany, Ireland and Spain. This week, during Spring Break, Western has students in Ecuador, Brazil, Galapagos, Denver and Florida. The countries are currently ranked level one; however, if these countries move to level two, students and faculty will be required to be in self-isolation upon their return to the U.S. If individuals return from high-risk areas in the U.S., they could be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
While there are no probable or confirmed cases of the Coronavirus at Western Illinois University, following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, WIU is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of the University community.
“If individuals choose to travel to affected areas on their own, we ask that upon their return they closely monitor their health and seek medical attention if they begin feeling ill,” said Dr. Mike Waters, medical chief of staff of Western’s Beu Health Center.
As the situation evolves and changes daily, the most up-to-date information is available at wiu.edu/beu and wiu.edu/coronavirus. Information available include tips to avoid transmitting illnesses, FAQs and links to policies, as well as links to the CDC and other agencies.
Questions regarding the impact of these restrictions on travel that is already planned can be directed to Joe Roselieb, executive director of Auxiliary Services and Risk Management.
As a precautionary measure to help prevent any possible spread of illnesses, Western’s Facilities Management staff have implemented additional disinfecting measures in high traffic areas. Offices on campus are also encouraged to keep hand sanitizer available and assist facilities staff by keeping disinfecting wipes on hand to wipe down doorknobs, phones, kitchen appliances and other shared surfaces.
It is also important for the University community to remain vigilant and responsible. To limit the spread of illness, wash hands frequently, or use hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available. Hand sanitation stations have also been placed throughout campus. Students on the Macomb campus who feel ill should contact Beu Health Center at (309) 298-1888 or their local health care provider, and avoid contact with others. Employees who are ill should contact their health care provider and stay home.
If the Coronavirus appears on campus, the University has plans in place to address a possible outbreak. If the Illinois Department of Public Health determines that isolation is necessary to limit the spread of virus on campus, Beu Health Center and University Housing and Dining Services, established isolation areas on campus. Infected students may return home, or be quarantined on campus for a period of 14 days. The ideal quarantine period has still not yet been firmly established by the Centers for Disease Control. If students are isolated on campus, they will receive medical care and meals.
For more information, the Illinois Department of Public Health has launched the Illinois Novel Coronavirus Hotline and email to answer questions. Individuals can dial (800) 889-3931 24 hours a day, seven days a week or email [email protected] to get answers and the latest information.