With the start of spring break rapidly approaching, many of you will be traveling. Here is important information you should know, whether you are leaving the country, going across the U.S., or staying close to home.
Potential health hazards at home and abroad:
- The Centers for Disease Control recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, most of Europe (30 countries to date), Hong Kong, Iran, Japan and South Korea due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus can spread from person to person. Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. (More information on coronavirus' impact on Cameron University operations can be found on the CU website.)
- The CDC also recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela. The country is experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases, and adequate health care is currently not available in most of the county.
- There is an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is also an ongoing outbreak of monkeypox.
- There is an outbreak of rubella in Japan. Travelers to Japan should make sure they are vaccinated against rubella with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine before travel.
- There are polio outbreaks in several countries in Asia and Africa. The CDC recommends that all travelers to these countries be vaccinated fully against polio.
- An outbreak of yellow fever began in Nigeria in September 2017. This outbreak has now spread throughout the country. Travelers going to Nigeria should receive vaccinations against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there. Outbreaks of monkeypox and Lassa fever have been reported. Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats.
This list of outbreaks is current as of March 12. For current travel notices on illness outbreaks in these countries and others worldwide, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Wherever you travel, make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Travelers should always wash their hands often with soap and water and avoid contact with animals or people that may be sick. Just as importantly, if you experience any symptoms after traveling to an affected area, contact your primary care physician or the Cameron University Student Wellness Center.
International students leaving the U.S.:
To travel outside the United States, an international student must have a valid passport, a visa, and a Form I-20 endorsed for travel and signed in the last 12 months by a Principal/Designated School Official. It is also recommended that you travel with your transcript. Please remember that it is a Customs and Border Protection officers’ decision to admit immigrants and non-immigrants into the U.S. Students are advised to visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for additional information. As you travel, please be aware of Secondary Inspection, a process that allows inspectors to conduct additional research to verify additional information. The Department of Homeland Security recommends traveling with the name and contact information of your Designated School Official. For Cameron University, that is:
- Principal Designated School Official: Louis Jagodzinski
- Office Phone: 580.581.2838
- Phone After Hours: 580.591.8019
- Email: email@example.com
Please notify International Student Services of your travel dates and destinations. The U.S. State Department has the most up-to-date information regarding travel.
If you need further information, please contact Louis Jagodzinski, Coordinator of International Student Services at CU, at 580.581.2838.
Tips for everyone traveling near or far:
- Plan ahead. Leave a copy of credit cards, driver's license/passport and trip itinerary with family and/or emergency points of contact.
- Take contact information during international travel. Keep with you contact information of the U.S. Embassy in that country.
- Keep travel documents and an ID with you at all times.
- Know the laws and cultures of your destination. Respect local authorities and hotel staff.
- Be vigilant of identity theft, especially if traveling abroad. Do not charge electronic devices from USB ports on computers to reduce risk of theft of personal information; charge only in electrical outlets.
- Carry your hotel address with you.
- Carry enough cash for transportation.
- Practice safe driving. Stay attuned to signs of fatigue, switch drivers often, take breaks, avoid cell phone use and do not consume anything that would impair your ability to drive.
- Don't go anywhere alone. Have friends with you at all times.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation seems unsafe or you feel uneasy, leave immediately. Stay in well-lighted areas frequented by tourists, secure your valuables and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Communicate. Check in with family periodically and discuss safety with friends. Tell someone where you are going (even if it is just to the bathroom), and take a friend with you whenever possible. Check in with family to let them know that you are safe and to tell them if you are planning any big excursions.
- Practice taxi safety. It’s always better to call a cab than to hail one. When the taxi, Uber or Lyft driver arrives, check their credentials. Taxi drivers should have them displayed, and you can verify that a Uber or Lyft driver’s photo and car matches what you see on the app. Don’t ride alone if at all possible. Follow along with a map on your phone to make sure you are headed in the right direction. If at any moment you do not feel safe, wait until the car comes to a stop, leave money on the seat, and get out of the vehicle.
- Safety App. Consider a free app like CircleOf6. With two taps, friends receive a pre-programmed “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely” text and GPS location. The app can also send a “call-me” text if you need a call to help you exit a situation.
- Drink Smart. If you choose to drink, drink in moderation. Excessive alcohol use can lead to ruined reputations, unprotected sex or sexual assaults, and arrests. Avoid contests and other incentives to drink. Recognize signs of alcohol and drug poisoning (e.g., unconsciousness, vomiting, slowed heart rate and breathing, and cold, clammy or bluish skin). If someone is in danger, call 9-1-1.
- Require Consent. If you choose to engage in sex, take every precaution against sexually transmitted diseases. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for STD information for the area you are traveling. It doesn’t matter if you have been intimate with someone before, or what you may be feeling for someone. Before you initiate anything, you must make sure the other person is comfortable and agrees with your intentions. He or she must give consent verbally and definitively before it is okay to proceed. On the other hand, you should say no if a situation doesn’t feel right. Say yes only if it does. Ask and listen with ultimate respect.
- Protect yourself. Wear sunscreen and mosquito repellent, and stay hydrated. Swim safely if you plan on venturing out into the ocean.
Everyone at the university wants you – whether student or employee – to have a fun spring break and be ready to return to Cameron for a great end to the spring semester. Be safe!