Since our last University-wide communication on March 3, 2020, the number of national coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise. While we are not aware of any cases at Norwich University or in Vermont, the safety of the Norwich University and surrounding community is our primary concern. I write to share with you the proactive steps we are taking. Note that this guidance is subject to change as the situation is rapidly evolving. You can find updates and resources on the university’s website.
During Spring Break, please be mindful to follow CDC guidelines for Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities found here and check your email regularly for any updates from the University.
University-Sponsored Spring Break Travel and Study Abroad
- Norwich University will not fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support any international travel by university students to a country/region if the Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State: (1) orders the departure of U.S. dependents and non-essential/non-emergency personnel; (2) recommends that U.S. citizens depart the country; (3) advises U.S. citizens against all travel to the country; or (4) recommends that U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to the country.
- Norwich University will not fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support any international travel by university students to a country/region if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Travel Health Warning that recommends U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to the country.
- Norwich University requires all faculty, staff, and students to receive prior approval for university-sponsored international travel. Faculty, staff and students approved to travel abroad over the Spring Break have been advised to reconsider their travel but will not be required to cancel their trips. The groups have been advised that the university may cancel their trip, at any time, for any reason. However, our practice is to only prohibit travel if warnings from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deem it necessary.
- Norwich University currently has students studying abroad and away in 10 different countries or territories. Although the university has decided not to cancel their program, at this time, all students were advised that the university would support their early return should they wish to do so.
- The university has advised all students currently studying abroad that at any time they risk 1) having their travels interrupted 2) being denied re-entry back into the United States and/or 3) being subject to quarantine.
- The university maintains international health insurance for its approved and registered travelers. The plan includes a benefit for medical evacuations.
- We urge faculty, staff, and students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel. In doing so, we ask each of you to take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning from travel to the United States and Norwich University.
- Airlines have been offering to waive change or cancellation fees in an effort to curb non-essential travel to places that may be deemed high-risk. Please contact your travel agent or respective airlines.
- The CDC maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. Note that these ratings can change rapidly.
- Any member of the Norwich community—faculty, staff, or student--who travels to a Level 3 country—currently China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, or Japan--must self-quarantine for 14 days at home and present a medical clearance from a doctor to Norwich University before they will be permitted to return to campus. They must also report themselves to the Vermont Department of Health.
- Faculty or staff should consult with their supervisor for further guidance.
- If you have travel insurance, you should closely review your plan to assure it does not exclude pandemics in the case of need for medical evacuation.
Our measures to ensure the health and safety of our community rely heavily on the guidance we are receiving from the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and are committed to keep you informed and up to date as this situation evolves. You may find updates and current information on the university’s website.
As the university continues contingency planning related to ensuring learning, business, and educational continuity, it is important to keep in mind that the university remains open and operational, and the likelihood of being exposed to the virus in the U.S. remains very low. Enjoy your spring break and your well-deserved time off!
- Richard W. Schneider, President