I am writing today to share new developments and reminders related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The university is closely monitoring the spread of the virus and we are working with public health officials to make well-informed decisions to protect the health of the Longhorn community as this situation evolves.
Here are the latest updates:
We encourage you to continue practicing behaviors to prevent the spread of illness
, including staying home if you feel sick. Healthyhorns Stop Germs posters, signage and mirror-clings have been distributed throughout campus as a reminder to wash your hands, cough into your sleeve or elbow and avoid touching your face. Additionally, we recommend a verbal greeting or a fist bump instead of a handshake; fist bumping has been shown to reduce the spread of germs by 75 percent compared to a regular handshake and almost 90 percent compared to a firm handshake. Exchanging the Hook ‘em Horns sign as a greeting can reduce hand-to-hand transmission by 100%!
Finally, as we head into spring break at the end of next week, we want to share the following travel precautions:
- Stay alert to travel advisories or restrictions and airline cancellations.
- Be aware of any layovers in your travel itinerary that may be in a restricted country.
- Purchase refundable tickets or ones that allow for flexibility.
- Purchase trip insurance with medical evacuation coverage.
- Keep cell phones fully charged.
- Check email at least daily.
- Travel with all key documents, including passport and insurance documents.
- Check to see if your health insurance plan covers care outside the U.S.
- Share your itinerary with your family and emergency contacts.
- Practice everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs.
- If you take prescription medication, bring at least an additional two-week supply with you.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself as quickly as possible and call the appropriate local public health authority immediately.
As President Fenves stated in his letter to campus on Wednesday
, we will work continuously during the coming days and weeks to provide timely information about COVID-19 and what the university is doing to prepare for and respond to the spread of this illness. We will communicate with you again next week, or sooner if the need arises.
Terrance Hines, MD, FAAFP
Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer
University Health Services