As you know, the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now impacting many countries around the world. I want to assure you that my top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff at all 37 colleges and universities within the Minnesota State system.
For this reason and out of an abundance of caution, I suspended all school and business-related international travel, effective February 28, 2020. If you are impacted by the travel suspension, I encourage you to contact your college or university for guidance. We are working in close partnership with our colleges and universities with the goal to ease potential impact of this temporary disruption of travel abroad. We will continue to monitor the situation and review our travel restrictions as new information emerges with regard to the size and scope of the threat associated with COVID-19.
In addition, we continue to work closely with our colleges and universities and the Minnesota Department of Health to monitor developments and proactively address school-related topics as it pertains to COVID-19. To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota nor associated with any Minnesota State college or university.
I know many of you are eagerly looking forward to spring break. To protect yourself and your community from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, good hygiene is the first line of defense. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, schools do not need to take special precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of viruses.
Everyday prevention measures like washing your hands with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick reduces the risk of spreading respiratory infections. If you experience the most frequently reported signs and symptoms of fever, cough, muscle aches, fatigue or shortness of breath and are concerned about your health, please contact your doctor or your city, county, or state department of health.
I recognize that managing uncertainty during an evolving, complex situation can be unnerving and challenging. For the most current information, please visit our website. Your college or university website offers local insight and additional information, as well.
My wish for you all is good health and a restorative spring break.