Dear University community,
Last night, we received word that Boone County has reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19). Though this event was somewhat expected in light of global events, it is important that our community be aware of the situation and take precautions to keep themselves and others safe.
First, we want to let you know that this individual is not an MU student or employee. We have learned that a patient at MU Health Care tested positively and is now self-isolating. The patient recently traveled internationally, and the virus was not spread through community transmission.
Second, this news reminds us how important our ongoing actions and precautions are in preventing future cases. We have taken – and continue to take – significant and, at times, challenging steps to protect the health and well-being of our entire campus community, including working and learning from home.
We encourage everyone to follow the advice of the CDC: Practice social distancing, limit your interactions to groups of 10 people or fewer, and engage in healthy habits such as frequently washing your hands. Last night, Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services also issued a community order that prohibits public gatherings of more than 50 people.For the health of our entire community, as well as our neighbors across the state, it is vital that everyone follow this order. We can all do our part by avoiding social gatherings. Even those who are at low risk for severe symptoms associated with the coronavirus can have an inadvertently major impact on those who are at higher risk.
As shared with staff and faculty yesterday, out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with public health experts, we are reducing further campus operations and having many of our employees work from home, if possible. Employees should check with their supervisors who will identify those needed to fulfill duties that require being on campus. In addition, students who can move out of university housing are being encouraged to do so. Classes will continue to be held remotely for the remainder of the semester.
We are working with Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services and experts at MU Health Care to make sure our community members have what they need during this difficult time. The Counseling Center and MU Student Health Center are available to serve students. Please consult their websites for updates on service delivery options.
If you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call your health provider before coming in to discuss next steps. Additionally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has activated a statewide public hotline, 877-435-8411, for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19.
We will continue to communicate new information to you as quickly as possible. For the latest campus updates regarding operations and other information, please check MU Alert.
The University of Missouri extends our support to our community members who are affected and to those facing this challenge around the world. We have an amazing community, and we are united by the compassion and respect we show for each other. This spirit is what makes Mizzou so special, and it is how we will continue to look out for the well-being of everyone.
Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD, Chancellor
Latha Ramchand, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs