The University of Tennessee has suspended all outgoing international travel related to the university.
All international travel in March — including teaching, research or grant activity, internships, conferences and presentations, performances and athletics — are expected to be cancelled, according to an email sent out to the UT community on Thursday afternoon.
The cancellation also includes any spring break trips abroad. Students, faculty and staff will be reimbursed by the university for any costs not covered by travel insurance.
The study abroad trips to Italy and Japan, which were scheduled to leave before June 15, have also been cancelled, along with sessions in China and South Korea.
“We also strongly encourage you to curtail personal international travel,” the email from Chancellor Donde Plowman said. “If you are currently overseas and will be returning in the coming weeks, you must contact your supervisor before returning to campus and follow all CDC guidelines.”
The news of the international travel cancellation comes after the first known case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Tennessee. There are currently no cases of the coronavirus on UT’s campus.
However, UT is preparing for the likely event that the virus will impact the different campuses across Tennessee.
Plowman reassured in the email that an Emergency Operations Center has been set up, and the senior leadership team has been meeting to consider the latest updates on the virus and make a plan for future scenarios.
The university has consolidated all information related to the university’s response to the coronavirus on this webpage for the UT community to stay up-to-date.
Employees of the university will be reimbursed for their expenses associated with an international business trip that was cancelled because of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. Employees will also be reimbursed for expenses associated with domestic business trips which were cancelled because of the coronavirus, if they can’t get reimbursement by other means.
Plowman also asked that the UT community be mindful with domestic travel and bringing visitors to campus.
Those with respiratory symptoms were advised to stay home and not to travel.
“I understand that some of these restrictions may cause hardship, and I appreciate your cooperation,” Plowman said in the email.
“Our leadership team will continue to monitor the spread of the virus in Tennessee and beyond and will make the decisions we believe will best protect the health and well-being of our community.”