Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updates | Webster University

Coronavirus Update (COVID-19)

Webster University continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world and its impact on global programs. This is a developing and changing situation. As a global institution, we have policies and protocols in place for monitoring developments, making decisions as needed, and communicating to impacted constituents and to our community. The health and safety of the Webster University community worldwide is of primary importance.

Based on Webster University’s travel policy protocol, which aligns with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisories, restrictions for travel to certain affected locations have been established.

 

 

 

Travel Guidance from Non-U.S. Countries

Thailand

In accordance with the Thai Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Health guidelines, as reported by Webster Thailand leadership, Webster faculty, staff or students in Thailand are advised to avoid travel to Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Those who travel to these countries will need to report their travels to the Ministry and will not be allowed onto the Webster Thailand campus without a self-quarantine of 14 days.

Uzbekistan

Webster faculty, staff, or students planning travel to Uzbekistan should be aware that individuals arriving to Uzbekistan who have been in certain countries during the past 14 days will be subject to home/hotel quarantine (self-quarantine). The countries include the United States and China, where Webster operates. For the full listing of countries and other details visit https://uz.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/.

 

Worldwide Campus Operations

Please remain aware of worldwide campus operations that may have shifted. You can find up-to-date information at the following link: http://www.webster.edu/covid19/operationalchanges.html.

 

Stay Informed - News Sources

 

Division of Global Education

All information and communications related to our international programs and partnerships have been centralized in the Division of Global Education (DGE) in the Office of Academic Affairs. The DGE is doing the following:

  • Monitoring U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel and advisories
  • Monitoring communication from national and international associations as well as other universities and our WINS partners
  • Communicating with our international campuses, collecting country-specific requirements and guidance, developing common and consistent message for students and others, and tracking those communications
  • Communicating with our international partners, collecting their country-specific requirements and guidance, and ensuring we are aware of their messaging to visiting students and faculty
  • Communicating with faculty who are scheduled to teach on faculty mobility or lead faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Communicating with our international insurance carriers

The DGE will be in communication with specific people and groups as needed to provide guidance and information and to relay decisions as they are made. Hannah Verity, Director of Global Program Development, is serving as point-person for questions and can be reached at hannahverity72@webster.edu or at +1-314-246-7627.

 

Office of Study Abroad and WINS

The Office of Study Abroad and WINS program is working in partnership with Webster’s international campuses and partner programs to provide up-do-date information and communications to students on a regular basis.

Students studying abroad for Spring Semester 2020 or Spring II 2020 have been told to return home. The University will work with students to allow them to finish their coursework remotely.
Study abroad programs have been cancelled at Webster Athens, Webster Geneva, Webster Ghana, Webster Leiden, Webster Thailand, and Webster Vienna. International partner programs have also been cancelled at J.F. Oberlin University, Kent State Florence, Universidad de Oviedo, University of Roehampton, and Oxford Brookes University.

As of March 12, 2020, all of Webster's European campuses; Geneva, Leiden, Vienna, and Athens, have moved all courses online for at least 2-3 weeks. As of March 16, 2020, Webster Ghana and Webster Thailand have also moved all courses online.

Students in Thailand Avoid Travel to Countries Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Asia Region- In accordance with the Thai Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Health guidelines, as reported by Webster Thailand leadership, Webster faculty, staff or students in Thailand are advised to avoid travel to Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Those who travel to these countries will need to report their travels to the Ministry and will not be allowed onto the Webster Thailand campus without a self-quarantine of 14 days.

The Office of Study Abroad/WINS will provide ongoing updates to study abroad participants about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and country/region-specific notices when needed.

Should you have questions, please call the Webster Office of Study Abroad at 314-968-7430. If you have an after-hours emergency, please contact Public Safety at 314-968-7430.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: For the latest and most detailed information on global response and prevention, visit the CDC's COVID 19 page and their COVID 19 FAQ, and the WHO's coronavirus 2019 pagewhich are updated frequently.

What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The 2019 novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is a member of a large family of viruses, which can cause a variety of illnesses in animals and humans. One type of coronavirus causes about 20% of common colds in humans. Other types of coronavirus have caused more serious illnesses in the past, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

After apparently originating in the Wuhan province of China, the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread outward to several other areas, including North America. Like all members of the coronavirus family, it has a single strand of RNA to carry its genetic code. So far, it has caused illness in hundreds of people. Among those with the illness, the severity has varied from simple “cold symptoms” all the way up to death. The fraction of those with a severe infection is a small portion of the total number infected with coronavirus, based on initial data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Novel Coronavirus in China alert and the routinely updated situation summary are the best sources for up-to-date information.

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and what are the symptoms?

The virus originated in an animal species, although at this time, it is unclear which animals may have been the original source. The outbreak may have begun when a human made contact with an animal infected by the virus. From there, the virus began spreading among humans, mainly by exposure to coughing, sneezing or close physical contact. World travel has amplified the spread from the original area.

When a person has the virus, they may have a fever (above 100.4° F or 38° C), cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms overlap with several other common illnesses, including influenza.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, your health care provider will ask about recent travel or possible exposure to other people who are known to have the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19). At-risk individuals may undergo a physical examination, lab testing or additional consultation with experts, if needed.

How can a person protect themselves from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There are several measures which reduce the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Regularly wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze
  • Do not share food or drinks
  • Avoid close contact with people who have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing
  • Keep yourself away from others if you have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing

For more information and updated information, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Treatment page of the CDC web site.

How will Webster decide whether to continue programming abroad or to suspend a program and evacuate students?

In the event of a program suspension, Webster would come to this decision through doing a thorough country review and analysis using the following sources of information among others:

  • U.S. Department of State travel advisory
  • National and international centers for disease control and prevention
  • Communication from national and international associations as well as other universities
  • Country-specific requirements and guidance from Webster’s international campus staff
  • Communications with international partners, including country-specific requirements and guidance
  • Reports from our international insurance carrier

Students would be notified as soon as a decision to suspend a program was made.

What will happen if Webster decides to cancel any of its study abroad programs?

If Webster decides to cancel any of its study abroad programs after they have already begun, the Office of Study Abroad would be in immediate contact with all students affected and would determine a plan for making airfare/travel changes. Students would be provided information on causing as little disruption as possible to the student’s academic progress. This might include information on how they can finish any coursework remotely (either online or via WebNet) or at another campus.

If a program is canceled prior to its start, students will be notified immediately and withdrawn from the program automatically. Students will not suffer any financial penalties due to the withdrawal. Alternative options for enrolling in classes at another study abroad program or Webster campus would be provided.

Will I have to pay study abroad costs if my program gets canceled?

If your program is canceled prior to departure, you will not have to pay any program costs. The Office of Study Abroad will work with the Office of the Bursar to have the costs removed from your student account.

If the program is canceled after it has already begun, then tuition and housing would be refunded at a pro-rated amount. This would be the case only if an option for completing the course work online, from the US, or another international location could not be provided.

If you have already booked your flight through the Webster World Traveler (WWTP) or WINS Award program, please notify Travel Plex to begin work on issuing airfare refunds or travel credits.

How can students and parents stay informed about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

How can students stay informed about the status of their program?