With the extended break looming, UNM’s dedicated coronavirus webpage has updated its travel recommendations for students who plan to leave the state, stressing that students should “avoid spring break travel to areas with active community transmission of COVID-19”. 

Following a New Mexico State University (NMSU) announcement Friday morning that its spring break would be extended to two weeks and the three-week closure of public primary and secondary schools throughout the state, UNM President Garnett Stokes followed suit, announcing Friday that UNM’s spring break would be extended through April 5. 

In lieu of the recent surfacing of 10 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in the state, the University of New Mexico released a series of announcements regarding its plans to mitigate the human-to-human transmission of the virus within the campus community. 

The statement warned prospective travelers that “if students do decide to travel, they can stay prepared to address any changes in conditions at home by bringing a laptop (if available) and course materials with them,” and that students “need to be aware of the possible ramifications of such travel.” Ramifications alluded to in the statement include the possibility of mandated quarantine upon return to the U.S. from countries or regions listed as a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Warning by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), either at the point of entry or via self-quarantine in New Mexico. 

For students traveling domestically or internationally to places which aren’t classified as Level 2 or Level 3 regions, the statement still emphasizes the need to closely monitor and report “symptoms of fever associated with cough or difficulty breathing” for the two weeks following the last date of travel. These guidelines apply particularly to students who travel by air, to areas with high-rates of COVID-19 activity, and/or those who attend large public events, per the statement. 

It is highly recommended to students that any travel — domestic or international — is reported at UNM’s dedicated coronavirus webpage, where students’ travel information will be evaluated by public health officials in order to offer guidance for students returning to Albuquerque. 

With schools around the country switching to online-only coursework, UNM noted that the situation is “rapidly evolving” and that “UNM is establishing plans for offering classes in alternative formats if a need arises due to public health directives about COVID-19”.  

“UNM is developing an instructional continuity plan so that courses can continue via online delivery to the extent possible,” the statement reads. “If adjustments are needed, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines relating to the flexibility of credit hours in cases in which COVID-19 requires discontinuation of on-site class meetings, as well as flexibility regarding financial aid credit-hour requirements. UNM will consider these U.S. Department of Education guidelines as we plan for more extreme eventualities.”

“I can assure you that the well-being of our students and entire campus community is our highest priority when considering the implications of our actions,” President Stokes said via press release. 

Joe Rull is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @rulljoe or by email at sports@dailylobo.com