Spring Break is imminent, and I know many families are debating students’ travel plans in light of the fast-evolving global coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Yesterday, Penn advised all community members against travel to China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Any student visiting these countries must self-isolate for two weeks upon return, missing class and assignments.
Amid this uncertainty, any travel, domestic or international could heighten your risk of exposure. If conditions change in a location you visit over break, you may incur travel delays and mandatory quarantines. We cannot guarantee that impacted students will be able to finish the semester seamlessly. Too much remains unknown.
I know these are difficult decisions to make, given the money and time spent planning vacations. I, myself am scheduled to visit South America next week. I am watching the news closely and will change my plans if necessary.
Please talk openly with your families and friends about the risks and rewards of your travel plans. You can find up-to-date information on COVID-19 and University resources here.
I wish you a relaxing, and safe, Spring Break. Wherever you go and whatever you do, remember to wash your hands, often!
Benoit Dubé, MD, Associate Provost and Chief Wellness Officer