March 5, 2020

To the WSU Community:

As you prepare for spring break next week, some of you may have plans to travel. If that is the case, we urge you to continue using prevention best practices to protect yourself and others from the Coronavirus and other health risks. If you are currently sick, please reconsider your travel plans. The CDC’s most important recommendation at this time is to avoid traveling when you are sick, and to stay home for a minimum of 24 hours after a fever has subsided. In the instance you are ill, it’s possible airlines may offer you a waiver – you can call your airline to see what is possible.

If you are traveling, below are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends at least 60% alcohol concentration for maximum effectiveness.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you to ensure you have the opportunity to clean your hands at any time.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If your travel plans include air travel:
    • Keep the air vents above your seat open during your flight to improve ventilation; ideally pointing them away from your face.
    • Wipe down arm rests and tray tables with disinfectant wipes.
    • Avoid touching the handle on bathroom doors, if possible (instead using a tissue or disinfectant wipe).
    • If possible, stay seated and don’t get up until you’ve reached your destination.
    • If you are seated next to someone who is sick, ask a flight attendant if it’s possible to move, as sitting in close proximity to someone ill will increase your risk of getting sick.

Students and employees who are planning to travel internationally over spring break or for other personal travel are encouraged to monitor official government travel advisories. In recent weeks, the CDC and State Department have elevated travel advisory levels for several countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran. While restrictions currently apply only to travelers returning to the U.S. from China, the situation is evolving and new restrictions could occur. If you are planning to travel to Europe, a valuable resource is the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s COVID-19 website.

If you become sick while traveling, it is recommended that you isolate yourself upon returning until you are fever-free for 24 hours and call your health care provider.

Once you have returned from a trip, you should continue to monitor your health. If you develop signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection after your return, it is recommended that you isolate yourself and call your health care provider. Additional questions can be asked via WSU Health & Wellness Services’ Ask-A-Nurse message line at 507-457-2292.

Spring break is a time to relax and unplug from academic rigor, connect with family and friends, and enjoy the journey. Your community at WSU looks forward to your safe and healthy return.


Connie Kamara
Director of Health & Wellness Services

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Winona State University Communications Office manages media relations for the university as well as external and internal communications, connecting with local and regional media outlets in Winona, Rochester, La Crosse and the Twin Cities

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