March 3, 2020
Dear Deans, Presidents, Associate Deans, and Vice Presidents:
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread dynamically around the globe. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance suggesting that higher education institutions in the United States consider cancelling upcoming international travel programs and asking students who are currently participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States.
The health and safety of everyone in the University community is our top priority, and it is for that reason that the University of Pittsburgh has decided to cancel all University-sponsored spring break study abroad and spring break study away programs that require air travel. In addition, we are taking a proactive approach in locations with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, and thus are requiring students who are studying abroad in France, Germany, and Spain to return to the United States. We ask that members of the Pitt community who return from those countries practice voluntary social distancing for a period of 14 days.
These are not decisions that we take lightly. We know that they will have numerous implications for the students and faculty whose travel plans will now change. However, especially in light of the CDC’s guidance, we feel that it is prudent to be cautious and to take all reasonable precautions to protect our community. We also hope to avoid the potential for any member of our community to become stranded abroad, should circumstances shift suddenly.
Pitt’s Study Abroad Office is in contact with affected students and faculty, and Jeff Whitehead is the point of contact for study abroad programming. In addition, Pitt Global Operations Support, and particularly Global Operations Support Manager Ian McLaughlin, is available to provide guidance.
Along with the collective global citizenry, Pitt is trying to make the most informed choices possible in a quickly evolving situation. While I know these decisions will result in understandable disappointment for those impacted, I appreciate your support in our ongoing efforts to protect the well-being of our entire community. Please share this important information with your faculty and staff.
Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Professor of Philosophy