The below message was sent to study abroad students who are returning from Italy and their emergency contacts on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in order to communicate the latest updates from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Dear Student Leaving Italy,

The Iowa Department of Public Health has just released new guidance surrounding self-isolation for those returning from a COVID-19 affected area as defined by the CDC.

“If you returned from mainland China, please work with public health officials to follow your public health orders.

“If you returned from any of the other COVID-19 affected areas, please isolate yourself by staying home for 14 days and monitoring yourself for symptoms. If you get a fever or respiratory symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and notify them of your travel prior to going into the medical office. Your healthcare provider may give you advice on whether you need to be seen in the office and if so, provide you with special instructions others that might need to be followed to be sure you are seen in a way that does not expose others.” — Iowa Department of Public Health

As you return home, please inform the University of Iowa via this link, as well as your local healthcare provider, of your self-isolation. If you have questions regarding self-isolation or if you feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in contact with someone with confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704) ( or your local healthcare provider. After hours and on weekends, call the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Integrated Call Center at 319-384-8442 or toll free 800-777-8442 or your local healthcare provider.

In addition to monitoring your physical health, you may have concerns about your mental health. The university has resources available to support and assist you. To speak with someone, please contact:

It is important to know that your privacy will be maintained by your provider.


During your self-isolation we will continue to connect regarding your academic work for this term.

Your program provider is developing protocols to allow you to complete as much coursework as possible for the Spring 2020 semester. The University of Iowa and the Office of the Provost are committed to facilitating the completion of your academic work for this term. If you anticipate any loss of credit due to departure from Italy, please contact Liz Wildenberg de Hernandez (

Health Care

The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

We are also sending this message to your emergency contact person in the U.S. identified by you on your study abroad application.


Russell Ganim

Associate Provost and Dean, International Programs

University of Iowa