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ISS COVID-19 Information

*Last Updated May 3, 2021


Get a Vaccine


As of March 8, 2021 a vaccine became available and is being distributed on campus. You can get more information on the Protect KU site. You will need to complete a webform to indicate you want a vaccine and that you are affiliated with the University of Kansas. You will then be contacted to schedule both vaccine appointments.

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.

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?

During the Spring semester, if you lived on campus, KU Student Housing provided dedicated rooms for on-campus residents who need to quarantine. More information is available at housing.ku.edu/august-2020-ku-student-housing-plans. We expect something similar for the Summer and Fall semesters.

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 became effective on January 26, 2021. 

COVID-19 Restrictions on US Visas and Entry
National Interest Exemption for certain travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, and India. (link to Department of State news release)

"Students traveling from the China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and India 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 these areas 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. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel. However, it may be very difficult to get a visa. The embassy you apply through may only offer emergency services for U.S. citizens.

Find out if your embassy is open for visa services.

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.

Please see above for national interest exemption for F-1 students that are physically present in these countries.

  • 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.

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.

Latest Update from the Department of State: April 6, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely affect the ability of embassies and consulates around the world to be able to resume routine visa services. The particular constraints vary based on local conditions and restrictions, but include local and national lockdowns; travel restrictions; host country quarantine regulations; and measures taken by our embassies and consulates to contain the spread of COVID-19. Combined, these restrictions have reduced appointment capacity during the pandemic, which has created a significant backlog of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants awaiting a visa interview.  The State Department is working to reduce this backlog while ensuring the safety of our staff and applicants and protecting our national security.

U.S. Embassies and Consulates that process nonimmigrant visa applications are prioritizing travelers with urgent needs, foreign diplomats, mission-critical categories of travelers (such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and workers who are essential to the American food supply), followed by students, exchange visitors, and some temporary employment visas.

Visa applicants should check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for the current operating status. Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times are available on the visa wait time tool at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html.

See previous news alerts about visa services being suspended

Controls at Land Ports of Entry on Canadian and Mexican Borders
Two Federal Register notices published have been continued to be updated every month (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 multiple times and are currently in effect until May 21, 2021. They will probably be extended again. Please note that these controls do not apply to air travel.

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.

April 29, 2021 - mask and face covers while on campus are still required.

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.  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

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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