Coronavirus Update (COVID-19)

March 1, 2020

St. John’s University continues to monitor the rapidly changing and unpredictable trajectory of the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, across the globe. University officials are regularly receiving guidance from the US Department of Health and Human ServicesNew York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The following information is provided to keep you informed of how to stay healthy, to inform you about travel concerns, and to share updates regarding our campuses in Europe.

As of today, there have been no identified cases in the St. John’s community, including on our campus in Rome, Italy, and at our locations in Paris, France, and Limerick, Ireland.

Rome Campus Updates:  On Friday February 28th, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed the travel guidance for Italy to level 3: “Avoid Nonessential Travel”; since then, some areas of the country have been designated level 4.  As a result St. John’s has discontinued academic programs on the Rome Campus until further notice. The University is working to assist students in Italy return to their permanent/home residences in the U.S. or abroad (for international students) for the remainder of the semester. These students will complete the rest of their course work for the semester online from home.

Paris and Limerick Locations: Fortunately, DOS and CDC guidelines have not changed in France or Ireland since the start of the semester. Academic programs are continuing.  We continue to monitor these locations carefully. Should the travel advisories for France and/or Ireland move to a level 3 travel warning, we will proceed as we have in Italy. Out of an abundance of caution, we are making preparations for this possibility so we can quickly facilitate the safe return of our students and employees should this step become necessary.

Each study abroad program, including short-term programs, are reviewed on an ongoing basis, up to the point of program departure.  To date, we have made the difficult decision to cancel some short-term programs and semester opportunities. We understand that these changes are disruptive to students and employees; however, the safety of all is of the utmost importance.

Travel and Screening:

At this point, we strongly encourage students and employee to carefully evaluate international travel.

In the last week, we have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in locations outside of mainland China—primarily in South Korea and Italy, with a significant increase in cases in Japan, Iran and Hong Kong. This situation is evolving daily; thereby it is difficult to anticipate what else may change in Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world over the coming days and weeks. 

As countries evaluate travel into and out of their borders, limitations and bans are being put into effect, often with little or no prior warning. Please consider both your departure and your return when traveling to countries currently under watch for COVID-19. If you visit a region that is placed on CDC Level 3 warning, you will likely experience canceled flights and restricted travel by local authorities.

The United States has announced enhanced screening for individuals returning from affected regions. As a result, some individuals may be subject to mandatory quarantines, or self-isolation for 14 days upon return to the United States. 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.

Health Information:

In order to keep our campus healthy and safe, we ask all students and employees who are sick to stay home.

Symptoms for the novel coronavirus are very similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Because it is cold and flu season, and this virus has similar symptoms, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness evaluated by a health-care provider. 

It is flu season! Take the same precautions: wash your hands often, cover your cough, and if you feel sick—stay home. For more information, visit www.stjohns.edu/flu.

Seek prompt medical evaluation if you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Students should call Student Health Servicesimmediately 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, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider. 

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

In an effort to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus, please visit www.stjohns.edu/coronavirus.

 

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