International travel, domestic travel, campus preparations

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

We write to update you regarding additional developments and planning relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

International Travel

In light of the speed and extent of the spread of COVID-19, Case Western Reserve now encourages all members of the campus community to reconsider upcoming travel abroad—even to those countries with zero confirmed cases.

We make this recommendation with great regret; our commitment to international engagement is a core university value. It brings a broad range of benefits to each of us as individuals, as well as the institution as a whole.

That said, the health and safety of our campus community must be our paramount concern. In that context, the risks that COVID-19 itself poses, the potential difficulties travelers may face in returning, and the possibility of quarantine upon arrival together require that we provide this guidance.

If you do plan to travel internationally for any reason, we again ask that faculty and staff complete this registration form at least three days prior to departure. Students are asked to provide their information on this form with the Office of Education Abroad.

Domestic Travel

At this time, we have no restrictions regarding domestic travel or forms to complete prior to departure. That said, circumstances within the U.S. also are changing rapidly; just this evening, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for California. We will communicate with the campus community (and post on our updates page) should the university’s requirements and/or recommendations regarding travel within the U.S. change. Meanwhile, we recommend closely following the Centers for Disease Control’s webpage regarding all travel.

Additional Updates and Reminders

Procedures for new employees arriving from other countries

All supervisors who have new hires coming from abroad to start positions at Case Western Reserve should email occhealth@case.edu with that individual’s name, start date, and contact information. None of these individuals may begin their duties on campus until they have completed a telephone screening before arriving on campus.

Preparations for potential COVID-19 affecting campus operations

  1. Essential Employees: When Case Western Reserve must close or delay the opening of campus—for example, in the event of severely inclement weather—the university notes that “essential employees” still are expected to come to work.

    These individuals are overwhelmingly those whose functions require their physical presence on campus. In the case of a COVID-19-related disruption, many such individuals still will fall into this category, while others will not (and others not previously designated as essential may fall into this category).

    Out of an abundance of caution, the university is asking all school and university leaders to evaluate which positions within their units would need to be on campus in the event of a campus closure. The Office of Human Resources will provide additional guidance regarding this process shortly, but we wanted to make you aware of this request as soon as possible.
  2. Remote Work & Learning: As part of the university’s planning for situations that may require remote work and learning, UTech has prepared a webpage detailing tools and services that would be helpful in the event of a full closure or other changes to campus operations. We strongly recommend that you review this page and become familiar with those programs that you may need to use. This page includes both resources about them and contact information for assistance.
  3. Conferences and Events: We have received several inquiries regarding upcoming university-related conferences and other events taking place on- and off-campus. Health services is consulting regularly with local infectious disease experts, and that office and others are in frequent contact with counterparts at peer institutions and national organizations. We will continue to provide guidance through these communications and our updates page.

As ever, we will communicate again as developments warrant.

Carolyn Gregory
Vice President for Human Resources

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs