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ISS COVID-19 Information

*Last Updated 02/01/2021

Biden Adminstration Temporary Freeze Memorandum

On Januay 20, 2021 the Biden administration put a temporary stop on the last minute rule updates to federal registrer by the Trump adminstration to give the Biden adminstration more time to review the propoased changes. This means that the proposed rule to eliminate duration of status is temporarily stopped.

Impact on DHS proposal to eliminate duration of status. When the Biden Administration issued its Regulatory Freeze memorandum on January 20, 2021, DHS had not yet sent a final duration of status elimination rule rule to OMB for review or to the Office of the Federal Register for publication. Paragraph 1 of the Regulatory Freeze memorandum likely means that no final rule could advance "until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2021, reviews and approves the rule." In the meantime, NAFSA will post any available updates on their Proposal to Replace Duration of Status page.

Arrival or Return to Campus

Do I have to have a negative COVID test to come back?

At the start of the Spring semester students, faculty and staff had to have a negative COVID test result to come onto campus in person. For students living on campus, Housing provided students with a mail-in COVID test. We expect something similar for the Summer and subsiquent Fall semester.

For flights to the United States:

Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger... This order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021 and will become effective on January 26, 2021. 

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, which directs relevant agencies to assess the January 12, 2021 CDC order requiring a negative COVID-19 test result for airline passengers traveling into the United States, and, based on that assessment, take any further appropriate actions and planning regarding air, land, and sea travel.

On January 25, 2021, the Department of State published a Fact Sheet titled, Negative COVID-19 Test Required for Travel to the United States Beginning January 26.

I am arriving/returning to campus from abroad or outside the state of Kansas. Will I be expected to quarantine upon return to campus?

For details, please see the Travel Quarantine Update provided by Watkins Health Services. The quarantine section is about half way down the page. Please keep scrolling on the Watkins Health Services page.

What is the difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation?

Social distancing is a day-to-day precautionary measure used by non-exposed people to help prevent the spread of a disease. Everyone is expected to practice social (physical) distancing at this time.

Quarantine is a prevention strategy used to monitor and separate well people who may have been exposed to a disease for a certain amount of time to see if they become ill. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease. Quarantine usually takes place in the home. You should quarantine if you have recently traveled from abroad or outside the state of Kansas.

Isolation is a prevention strategy used to separate people who are sick with an infectious disease from healthy people. Isolation helps limit the spread of disease. Isolation can take place in the home or hospital. You should practice isolation if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, have tested positive for COVID19, or have symptoms of the disease without a test.

Additional information may be found here.

Will KU provide a dedicated room for me to quarantine or isolate if needed?

If you live on campus, KU Student Housing will provide dedicated rooms for on-campus residents who need to quarantine. More information is available at housing.ku.edu/august-2020-ku-student-housing-plans.

If you live off campus, you will need to make your own arrangements for quarantine or isolation as needed. You are expected to follow isolation and quarantine guidelines set by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

What am I allowed to do during the 14 day quarantine period?

Those under 14-day home quarantine should not attend school, work or any setting where a 6-foot distance from other people can’t be maintained. You may not participate in university activities or use university spaces during this time. Monitor yourself for symptoms of fever, cough or trouble breathing. Seek medical attention if needed. Wear a facemask to help protect the people you live with. Additional suggestions for home quarantine may be found here

How will isolation or quarantine requirements be enforced?

All members of KU and the Lawrence community play an important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19. You are expected to follow university, state and local health guidance. Information about the authority to issue and enforce isolation and quarantine in Kansas may be viewed here.

How do I access goods and services (including meals and groceries) while in quarantine or isolation?

Many retail shops, grocery stores and restaurants offer online shopping, curbside pickup and delivery. There may be a small fee for these services. Grocery stores including Checkers, Dillon’s and Hy-vee offer these services. Additional information about restaurant and grocery deliver in Lawrence may be found here.

*Please note, International Support Services does not contract with these companies and you may find another company which offers a better service for your needs. 

KU Dining & Catering has developed protocols to protect the safety and well-being of the community. This includes mobile orders, touchless payment options and adjusting dining seating capacity. More information is available at: https://dining.ku.edu/august-2020-ku-dining-reopening-plans-safety-protocols

COVID-19 Travel Issues

CDC Order Requiring all Passengers on U.S.-Bound Flights to Have COVID-19 Viral Test

Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger... This order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021 and will become effective on January 26, 2021. 

COVID-19 Restrictions on US Visas and Entry
National Interest Exemption for certain travelers from Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland. (link to Department of State news release)

"Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request."

This means that the Department of State has indicated that F-1 students that have been physically present in the Schengen Area, Ireland and United Kingdom may enter the United States with a valid F-1 visa. J-1 students and scholar will need to contact their embassy to start an exception request. At the moment we do not have confirmation from US Custom and Border Protection that they will allow entry for these students. Find out if your embassy is open for visa services.

Please note that presidential proclamations that are preventing entry for people who are physically present in China, Iran, and Brazil are still in effect and it does not seem like students are able to get national interest exemptions.

Presidential Proclamations preventing entry for certain travellers

Since early February there have been five US Presidential Proclamations issued that have stopped entry to the United States for all aliens (immigrants, non-immigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens), who were physically present within the specific country during the 14-day period preceding their attempted entry to the United States. These proclamations have no inherit end date, they can only be lifted by the President, and so, are still active and prevent people from entering the United States.

  • China Travel Proclamation - began Feb 2, 2020. (link to proclamation)
  • Iran Travel Proclamation - began March 2, 2020. (link to proclamation)
  • European Schengen Area Travel Proclamation (26 countries) - began March 13, 2020. (link to proclamation). Please see above for national interest exemption for students from the Schengen Area.

*note: the European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • Ireland and United Kingdom Travel Proclamation - began March 16, 2020. (link to proclamation). Please see above for national interest exemption for students from Ireland and United Kingdom.
  • Brazil Travel Proclamation - began May 26, 2020. (link to proclamation)
U.S. Consular and Visa Services
The Department of State Visa Office does not maintain a COVID-19 portal page with information dedicated to U.S. visas, although they do issue news alerts. On July 14, the State Department annouced Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services. These services will occur on an embassy by embassy basis. You will need to visit the embassy website directly to find out when they resume services. Unfortunately there is no central location on which embassies will resume services. Search in the "News & Event" section of the website. If there is no announcement of the embassy resuming services, then visa services are still suspended.

See previous news alerts about visa services being suspended

Restricted China / U.S. Air Routes
A June 3 Department of Transportation order set to automatically go into effect on June 16, will “suspend scheduled passenger operations of all Chinese carrier to and from the United States.” The next day, the New York Times reported that “Beijing will allow limited flights by international carriers to resume after the White House threatened to block Chinese passenger jest from flying to the U.S.”

According to DOT, the Civil Aviation Authority of China "responded by revising its restrictions to permit U.S. carriers the ability to operate one flight per week each." On June 5, the Department of Transportation issued an amended order that selected Chinese airlines could operate two flights per week.

Practically, Chinese nationals wishing to return home because they graduated or finished their research program or employment at KU have not been able to return home because flights back to China have been severely limited. Previously only Chinese airlines were offering one flight per week. Now that US carriers will be able to offer one flight per week as well, this should increase the number of flights, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough.

Controls at Land Ports of Entry on Canadian and Mexican Borders
Two Federal Register notices published on March 24 (border with Canada | border with Mexico) announced the decision to temporarily allow entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders for “essential travel” only. These restrictions have been extended twice and are currently in effect until June 22, 2020. They will probably be extended again. The good news is that essential travel seems to include both individuals traveling to attend educational institutions; and individuals traveling to work in the United States. Please note that at this time it is only land ports of entry, both air and sea crossings should not be used. They need to drive across.

COVID-19 Facts for Kansas and Lawrence

Do I need to wear a mask or face covering on campus or in the Lawrence community?

Yes. Per university policy, everyone is required to wear a face covering (cloth face covering, surgical mask, etc.) over their mouth and nose when in common areas of a building or when within six feet of another individual(s) anywhere on campus. As of July 3rd, 2020, masks are required throughout the State of Kansas in the following situations:

  • "Inside, or in line to enter, any indoor public space"
  • "Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings, including but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank"
  • "Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle"
  • "While outdoors in public spaces and unable to maintain a 6-foot social distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity"

State and local guidance also require masks to be worn in public spaces when social distancing is not possible. Cloth mask recommendations and information on how to request a cloth mask is available here.

Where can I go to find information on COVID-19 in Lawrence?
Each day, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) provides updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas and each of its counties. Lawrence is in Douglas County. The KDHE, which is the state organization tasked with responding to COVID-19, also holds regular press conferences and issues state-wide health notices.

>> Kansas Department of Health and Environment

For local updates, visit Douglas County Coronavirus Response Hub. Using information from health agencies and local governments, this site provides information on the daily number of cases in Douglas County.  It also gives information about the Stay at Home Order, which went into effect on March 24. It also answers frequently asked questions. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, which is the local agency organizing response efforts in Douglas County, is also a good source of information.

>> Douglas County Coronavirus Response Hub

>> Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health 

For a broader view of what is happening in our community and state, you can read our community’s local newspapers. The Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas City Star provide daily coverage of COVID-19. All COVID-19-related stories are free to read.

>> Lawrence Journal-World

>> Kansas City Star

COVID-19 Testing

KU will conduct mass testing for all students, staff, and faculty. Testing protocol will be communicated in the coming weeks. Click here for more information.

What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified a fever, cough, shortness of breath and several other body reactions as symptoms associated with COVID-19. Visit their website to learn more about these symptoms. The site also has a helpful guide to determine if seeking medical care is appropriate.

>> CDC information on COVID-19 Symptoms and Self-Checker

If you develop a fever and symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, please call your healthcare provider immediately. Their health care provider will provide guidance on testing. Those who use Watkins Health Services as their health care provider, they should call 785-864-9500. If you need to call outside of regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), they can call the Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583, which is available 24 hours a day.

>> Watkins Health Services COVID-19 Information

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Please first call your primary health care provider. If a health care provider determines a test is necessary, the patient’s physician will place an order with LMH Health, then direct the patient to the hospital’s testing site, the Respiratory Evaluation Center. If you do not have a primary care provider, please contact Watkins Health Center.

>> LMH Health Information

Important Links

KU Campus-wide COVID-19 Updates

International Affairs - COVID-19 Updates

KU On-Campus Housing - COVID-19 Updates

KU Dining's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page

Watkins Health Center - COVID-19 Updates

Human Resources - COVID-19 Employee Information

KU Transportation - COVID-19 Updates

Tips on Staying Happy & Healthy during COVID-19



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