Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Page last updated 8/25/2020

New information about the COVID-19 is being updated daily sometimes hourly. Please visit the CDC website for the latest information about the situation.

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 NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take appropriate action.

It is always good practice to follow self-care habits to stay well – wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water, cover your cough, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t share food or drinks. If you get sick, stay home and rest.

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.

  • On January 30, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. This acknowledges that, while the COVID-19 was initially seen to be a risk primarily in China, it is now of serious concern beyond its borders and calls for a coordinated international response.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions and an advisory warning against all travel to China.
  • St. John’s University officials are receiving guidance and working closely with the US Health and Human Services, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of International Education, and other offices to monitor this evolving situation and respond appropriately.
  • For a summary of related to the COVID-19, see correspondence from St. John’s University in the section above.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For those with a weakened immune system, there's a chance the virus could cause much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis. 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 healthcare provider. At this time, the COVID-19 is primarily related to the outbreak in China.

It is flu season! Take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season. Wash your hands often, cover your cough, and if you feel sick stay home. For more information, visit

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional frequently asked questions, please visit these pages:

In addition to the assistance of your faculty colleagues and Dean’s offices, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Online Learning and Services, the University LibrariesOffice of Information Technology, and Office of the Provost stand ready to assist you through this transition and will continue to update the Course Continuity Planning page as additional information and resources become available.

Further information and University updates are available in the Coronavirus Internal Updates “organization” which can be found by clicking on the Organizations link in the left-hand navigation once you have logged into Blackboard.

The coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about 2019 novel coronavirus.

According to the CDC the risk of contracting the COVID-19 in the United States is very low. Most patients with COVID-19 have been linked to those who live in or visited Wuhan, China. There is only one documented case in the United States of human to human transmission of COVID-19 and in this case it was the spouse of someone who recently returned to Wuhan, China.

Concerns about a new and unfamiliar illness are understandable.

If you are feeling anxious or uneasy, please don’t hesitate to turn to the Student Health Services (718-990-6360, select option 4) or the Center for Counseling and Consultation (Queens, 718-990-6384; Staten Island, 718-390-4451) or the St. John’s University Mental Health Helpline (718-990-6352).

For information and support resources, please visit Following an Emergency Situation or a Traumatic Event.

St. John’s is using multiple communication channels to keep the campus community informed. This includes:

Everyone should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

For people who are sick:

  • Stay home.
  • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
  • Keep sick household members away from others. If you have a separate room that is best.
  • Use soap and water, a bleach and water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.
  • Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their healthcare provider for more information.

The CDC is continuing to evaluate and adjust its recommendation about wearing masks. Please visit the CDC's website for the latest recommendations on wearing masks.

As of April 17 at 8 p.m., anyone in New York must wear a face covering in any situation in public where you cannot maintain social distancing. For more information about this Executive Order, please visit The New York State Novel Coronavirus website.

COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms are similar. The majority of the cases of the illness have occurred in and around the city of Wuhan in China. If you have not been to the area of the outbreak, chances are you might have the flu.

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and body aches, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness 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, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.

If you recently traveled to China or have been in contact with someone known to be infected with the COVID-19 AND have a fever and cough or shortness of breath, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away.
  • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 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, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.
  • Wear a face mask if you need to leave your home when sick.
  • After you have been seen by a health care provider, stay home and avoid contact with others until you are well.
  • Avoid travel on any public transportation (e.g., buses, subways, trains, airplanes, car services, taxi, Uber,) until the illness resolves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Remember hospital staff will not ask patients about their immigration status.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health care systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.

Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time.

CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.

Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

Past Communications on COVID-19

University Communications

Student Communications