Coronavirus Update (COVID-19)

March 4, 2020

Since our last communication to you regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), New York City has confirmed cases of individuals who have tested positive.  Although government health officials expected this to happen, we want to assure you that St. John’s is taking steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and administrators.

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

Employees and Students Returning from Affected Regions

This guidance applies to all students and employees returning from spending time in China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, including those returning home from study abroad programs in Italy.

The United States has announced enhanced screening for individuals returning from parts of the world with a higher incidence of COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, and consistent with guidance from health officials, all students and employees returning from countries or regions of countries affected by the coronavirus are to required to stay home and remain off-campus for 14 days to wait out the incubation period.  Guidelines for home self-isolation/self-monitoring can be found here.

During this time, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call your local Health Department.  If you are a resident of New York City, call the NYC Health Department at 347-396-7990 before you seek health care. They will assist you in getting the necessary medical evaluation.

University Business Travel

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19, St. John’s is restricting all non-essential business travel until further notice. Employees with pending travel plans should consult with their supervisors to determine if their travel is considered essential AND they must receive approval from their respective deans or vice presidents before proceeding.

Service-Based & Extra Curricular Travel

Travel programs connected to service and extra-curricular activities (examples include service plunges, career insider view, etc.) are being evaluated and will continue to be reviewed as the departure times for the each group draws closer.  We understand that canceling programs is disruptive to students and employees; however, the safety of all is of the utmost importance.

Other Travel

This situation is evolving daily; therefore it is difficult to anticipate what else may change. In the immediate term, we strongly encourage students and employees to carefully evaluate personal international and domestic trips in addition to St. John’s-connected travel. Globally, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and expect the number of confirmed infections in the United States to increase substantially.  We especially ask our University employees to refrain from traveling to countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have designated as Level 2 (currently, Japan) or Level 3 (currently, mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea). Furthermore, as detailed above, we ask that colleagues who have traveled to these countries for any reason work remotely for 14 days, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms.  Prior to any travel, we urge you to check the US Department of State travel advisories and (CDC) travel health notices for your intended destination(s).  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.

All concerns regarding novel coronavirus, including 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 to take appropriate action.

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

Finally, we wish to remind you that the University is dedicated to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus community where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. Acts of bias or discrimination stemming from the association of COVID-19 with a particular population, ethnicity or nationality will not be tolerated.