Coronavirus Update (COVID-19)

February 27, 2020

As spring approaches, many in the St. John’s community plan to travel for vacations, educational excursions, and service opportunities. It is important to draw your attention to the presence of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, across the globe, and its potential impact.

Although the outbreak of COVID-19 is centered in Wuhan, China, recently there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Italy. If you have travel plans, we urge you to check the US Department of State travel advisories and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel health notices for your intended destination. For example, the CDC recently upgraded the travel guidance for South Korea to a level 3 and Japan, Italy, and Iran to level 2 travel advisories. However, this situation is in constant flux and these warning levels and travel restrictions can change rapidly.

The spread of COVID-19 continues to progress; information from various countries is being frequently updated. The US and foreign governments are taking aggressive steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including restricting travel, mandatory quarantines, and self-isolation for 14 days. If you travel outside of the United States, you may be subject to these measures. Students currently at our study abroad sites in Rome, Italy; Paris, France; and Limerick, Ireland, are encouraged to curtail weekend and break travel until further notice.

As a reminder, symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to seasonal flu and include fever, sore throat, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Take the same precautions that you do during cold and flu season: wash your hands often, cover your cough in your elbow, and if you feel sick—stay home. For more information, visit

Although COVID-19 has similar symptoms, it is important to avoid making assumptions. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it is important to be evaluated by a health-care provider. Students should call Student Health Services immediately at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). If Student Health Services is closed, please call the Department of Public Safety at 718-990-5252. Faculty and staff should call their primary health-care provider. Students studying abroad should use the contact information provided for their campus location.

All concerns regarding COVID-19 and potential cases should be directed to Student Health Services at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). Student Health Services will work with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take appropriate action.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, please visit