Missouri State University has suspended all travel to China, effective immediately, amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
In an email to the MSU campus, top university officials said the health-related directive will be revisited in mid-February.
The email was sent by Jim Baker, vice president for research, economic development and international programs andÂ Frederick Muegge, the director of health and wellness services.
MSU has a campus in China. Currently, there are more than 500 students from China studying at the university’s Springfield campus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance Tuesday for China, recommending all nonessential travel be avoided. The move was prompted by an ongoing outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
According to the letter, there have been at least five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and all of the individuals affected had traveled toÂ Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated.
No one on the Missouri State campus has traveled to or returned from Wuhan China in the last several weeks, wrote Baker and Muegge. They also noted none of the reported cases were in Missouri or had any connection to MSU.
MSU officials plan to continue to monitor the CDC travel advisories. In major U.S. cities, transportation hubs have implemented screenings to prevent the spread of the virus.
The note to the MSU campus explained that travel abroad trips are typically during the spring semester but the university officials will stay in touch with known travelers.
At this point, the university is assessing the status of university-sponsored spring break travel to China and the region. It is unknown if that will be canceled or postponed.
MSU officials urged students, staff and faculty to practice good disease prevention and pointed out the symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to the flu virus.
While the coronavirus has proved deadly elsewhere, the letter reminded the campus to also protect against the flu by practicing cough etiquette, washing hands and staying home if sick.
Claudette Riley is the educationÂ reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and consider supporting vital local journalism by subscribing. Learn more by visiting News-Leader.com/subscribe.
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