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Critical Travel, Health, and Course Information for UNM Students

Spring Break and Classes after Spring Break – COVID-19
March 11, 2020

At present, there is no evidence of any COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in the UNM faculty, staff, and student community and UNM does not need to close or establish quarantines. However, the potential impact on our community is evolving, so we all need to remain informed, wise, and supportive. 

There are presumptive cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico – meaning cases that are awaiting confirmatory tests to guard against false-positives.  These patients are isolated and there is no evidence of community transmission of the virus.

We recognize that this is a stressful time for students, their friends, and their families. We are providing regular updates at this site: http://www.unm.edu/coronavirus/ and through e-mail communication in an effort to answer your questions. The university is strongly committed to supporting students in their progress to degree and to protecting the health of students; as this situation evolves, we will all work together to maximize student success.

UNM is monitoring the global outbreak of COVID-19 and is developing robust plans for supporting health and continuing to provide instruction.  This communication provides information about:

  1. What should I know about Spring Break travel?

    The University strongly encourages students to avoid spring break travel to areas with active community transmission of COVID-19 and to make informed choices (see information below) about travel.

  2. What will happen with classes if conditions change?  

    At present we expect that classes should resume normally on March 23, 2020 after Spring Break (and also note that some students in HSC schools are already in post-break classes). However, the situation is continuously and rapidly evolving, and UNM is establishing plans for offering classes in alternative formats if a need arises due to public health directives about COVID-19. Please check for e-mail updates and consult the university webpage for coronavirus updates: http://www.unm.edu/coronavirus/.   UNM will strive continuously, working with faculty, staff, and students, to maximize the chances for student success in the face of these challenges.

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The University strongly encourages students to avoid spring break travel to areas with active community transmission of COVID-19.
  • If students do decide to travel, they can stay prepared to address any changes in conditions at home by bringing a laptop (if available) and course materials with them.
  • A list of affected countries is available through the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
  • For travel within the United States, UNM is recommending that you minimize travel.  We recognize that for some, affected states are home – we urge students to talk to their families about best choices and make informed decisions based on your own circumstances.

Students who decide to travel to any regions affected by COVID-19 during spring break or during the current travel suspension period, need to be aware of the possible ramifications of such travel.

Students traveling internationally to countries/regions listed as a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Warning by the CDC may be subject to quarantine by public health officials upon their return to the U.S. This may include mandatory quarantine at the point of entry, or the possibility of self-quarantine upon their return to New Mexico.

Students traveling domestically or internationally to areas not rated at Level 2 or Level 3 due to COVID-19 outbreaks —and who 1) travel by air; 2) travel to areas with high rates of COVID-19 activity; 3) attend large public events— will need to closely monitor and report (by phone to their medical provider’s office or to SHAC) symptoms of fever associated with cough or difficulty breathing for the next two weeks after last date of travel.

Students should also be aware that the COVID-19 outbreak may cause disruption to their travels regardless of CDC travel warnings or state of emergency declarations. These disruptions may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Longer wait times at the airport and other forms of public transportation.
  • Potential health screenings during your travel and upon arrival. This might include prior to entering the airport/train station; prior to security checkpoints, prior to boarding a plane.
  • Potential health screenings imposed by local governments.
  • Potential quarantine mandates by the local, regional, or national governments of your travel destination.
  • Longer wait times for the immigration process for those students traveling internationally, both in the destination country and return to the U.S.
  • Limited access to public places (historical sites, museums, beaches, etc.).
  • Short-notice cancellation of events and large gatherings.

The current outbreak of COVID-19 is evolving quickly. Students should continue to monitor the situation by checking the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites. This includes the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html which outlines steps to protect yourself from infection. 

We highly advise all students go to: http://www.unm.edu/coronavirus/ to report personal travel. Use the red “Report your travel” button to access the form. The submitted information will be used by public health experts to provide you with advice and guidance upon your return to Albuquerque regarding COVID-19 exposure.

We note that some students in HSC units have a staggered spring break, and may be recently returned from break.  We still urge you to register your travel at http://www.unm.edu/coronavirus/

CLASSES AFTER SPRING BREAK

Students should also remain up-to-date with information provided by their instructors, including information posted on UNMLearn.

The following FAQ will help address many of your questions.

  1. Will I be able to finish the semester? Will I be able to graduate? Is my financial aid at risk? Help! 

     UNM is developing an instructional continuity plan so that courses can continue via online delivery to the extent possible. If adjustments are needed, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines relating to the flexibility of credit hours in cases in which COVID-19 requires discontinuation of on-site class meetings, as well as flexibility regarding financial aid credit-hour requirements. UNM will consider these U.S. Department of Education guidelines as we plan for more extreme eventualities. UNM will also follow state guidelines and requirements.

  2. If I’m sick or need to care for someone, how do I maintain progress in my classes? 

    If you are sick or have cared for someone who is sick, do not come to class. UNM has encouraged faculty not to require a doctor’s note. Call SHAC at (505) 277-3136 before coming to the clinic and/or to schedule an appointment. UNM cares about its students and their progress and recognizes that individual health and safety must be a priority. Please remain in communication with your instructor. Through communication with your instructor, you may arrange for alternative access to course content that is sensitive to your needs, but also meets instructional goals. Identify yourself as having flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, runny nose). If additional support and accommodations are needed, please contact the appropriate Dean of Students or designee for Student Affairs.

  3. If the University is exposed and forced to close, will I still be able to attend my classes online?

     UNM is actively developing academic continuity plans for instruction in the event that campus course meetings are disrupted and is working directly with faculty on how to provide instruction via alternative formats, especially online.

  4. Does the University have plans for taking care of students who have COVID-19?

    Yes. UNM has designated housing for sick students and has a protocol for making sure that they are well taken care of and receive health care, support, and internet access to classes.

  5. I feel worried. Can anyone help?

    UNM has many resource centers staffed with people who are ready to provide support. Just reach out.  A list of resource centers and contact information is available here: https://students.unm.edu/find-your-pack/resource-centers.html.

  6. Will I still have a place to live if I am housing insecure?

    The university will continue to provide the resources that you have been able to access as someone with housing insecurity.

  7. Will I still have access to the internet if I reside on campus?  What if I don’t have good internet access at home?

    Existing internet service will be maintained; please see the general IT question/answer section below for additional details on IT Services. If you have challenges accessing the internet from home, please let your instructor know this and develop an alternative means of contact.

  8. How do I contact my instructor to receive updates about my class?  Will my instructor post lectures online for me to watch? What about exams?

    Your instructor usually includes contact information and any online resources in their syllabus. Most larger enrollment classes outside of the Health Sciences Center use UNM Learn, a Learning Management System for posting content, submitting assignments, delivering quizzes, etc. Specific tools depend on your instructor and their course design. Instructors are actively developing their plan for how they might handle a campus closure right now and can share information with you. With support from across campus, instructors are developing plans for continuing classes online and in alternative formats in the event of a campus closure and they can communicate their plans to you. Instructors will be working with the Office of Information Technology to plan for alternative formats or off-campus exams.  

  9. I need accessibility accommodations for online content and to continue to address my accommodations needs. How do I get help? 

    UNM is committed to meeting the needs of all students. The Accessibility Resource Center https://arc.unm.edu can provide you with assistance in communicating accessibility concerns to your instructor and will offer available support.

  10. What is the university doing to protect my privacy in online recordings? 

    As a student, you have a right to limit recording of your voice and likeness in a classroom or online in a format that would be accessible outside of the class. For some classes, a recording of a lecture or a seminar discussion may be useful to students as a study aid. If you have concerns about being recorded, please communicate with your instructor. 

  11. Who do I contact for support if I cannot make my technology work for online content? 

    Availability of service to support the core mission of UNM is critical; UNM IT will have a core team available via 505-277-5757 and will have a team to escalate to in the event it is necessary. Questions specific to UNM Learn, web conferencing, and video may be sent directly to UNM Learn support through the “Get Support” link in UNM Learn. For HSC classes, faculty and students can always contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 505-272-1694, and we’ll do our best to assist you. 

  12. If I am a Health Sciences Center Student, do I still attend my clinical rotations? 

    Even if the University closes, the clinical entities at the Health Sciences Center remain open and will have high volumes of patients. Please assume you will be attending your clinical rotations unless otherwise advised by your preceptor. Please look for specific instructions from your dean.

    We are confident that because you are Lobos you have resilience. Even if we do experience the need to halt face-to-face classes, you can continue to make progress to degree with UNM’s support.  We know that Lobos also protect the pack. In this case, that means making sure that we share valid information about COVID-19 and that we do not stigmatize anyone. We are all in this together.  

Go Lobos!