February 27, 2020 | 2 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an update on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. The update said, in part:

Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.

The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States.

But individual risk is dependent on exposure.

  • For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • Under current circumstances, certain people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of persons with COVID-19. CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

However, it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, the risk assessment would be different.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. The immediate risk at Fordham University remains low but we are preparing for the possibility that the coronavirus will cause a public health threat to the University community. Fordham’s Emergency Management Team is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York City Department of Health communications closely.

As of today there are still no confirmed nor suspected cases of this virus at Fordham University. Study abroad students who have previously returned to campus in late January have passed the incubation period without developing symptoms. The University is currently recalling study abroad students from Northern Italy, and will allow them to return to campus after spring break (Sunday, March 22) if they remain symptom free. The Office of the Provost will work on academic plans for students who are held out of class during the two-week incubation period. Students who travel to areas affected by COVID-19 may be kept out of class for two weeks following their return to prevent transmission to their classmates and University personnel.

Any student experiencing symptoms (which may be similar to the flu or common cold, and may include fever and coughing) should call (rather than visit) University Health Services (UHS) immediately:

  • Lincoln Center: (212) 636-7160
  • Rose Hill: (718) 817-4160

After business hours, contact the Department of Public Safety at (718) 817-2222. Someone will be available to take your call at this number 24/7.

Prevention is very important. Here are ways to Stay Healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Increase your fluid intake
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, face
  • Keep home/personal spaces clean, disinfect common surfaces
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Cover your cough with tissue/paper towel or the crook of your elbow
  • If you have not received an Influenza (Flu) vaccine this year, do get one as soon as possible
  • If you are sick, please stay home and contact your medical provider.

Faculty and Staff Guidelines

Faculty and staff who have recently returned from an affected area should not come to work, but should contact their department head or direct supervisor for guidance. Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms should call their primary care physician immediately for direction, should avoid class/work, and stay at home until they have been cleared by a health care provider.

Spring Break

Some spring break trips arranged through the University will be cancelled to prevent exposure to the virus. Residence halls at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center will remain open for students registered to stay in their housing assignments over the spring break and to accommodate students whose homes are in regions or whose travel plans are affected by COVID-19. Announcements are forthcoming on dining services slated to remain open for the break. University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Offices of Residential Life will also remain open over the break.

In general, students, faculty, and staff should seriously consider avoiding non-essential international travel until advised otherwise by competent authorities. Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, and the outbreak appears to be spreading quickly (including a new case in California), we are reaching a point at which we cannot assume there are “safe” locations. While University personnel who have traveled to known outbreak locations should remain away from campus for two weeks after their return, everyone should be vigilant in observing the wellness precautions above, and in monitoring any changes in their health.

Finally, there is a great deal of inaccurate (and sometimes biased) information circulating in the news media and on social media. The best sources for current information on the outbreak are the CDC, New York City Department of Health, and your state department of health. The University also reminds members of the community to treat one another with civility and respect: infectious diseases are neither confined to nor the responsibility of any one ethnic group.

For more information, visit:

If you have Fordham-specific questions please see the full contact list below.

Maureen Keown, MSN, Director
University Health Services
[email protected]

University Health Services     [email protected]                Lincoln Center: (212) 636-7160
                                                                                      Rose Hill: (718) 817-4160
Department of Public Safety  [email protected]  (718) 817-2222 Available 24/7
Dean of Student Services        [email protected]             (718) 817-4395
Dean of Students (RH)           [email protected]       (718) 817-4755
Dean of Students (LC)            [email protected]          (212) 636-6250
Residential Life (RH)             [email protected]                 (718) 817-3080
Residential Life (LC)             [email protected]                   (212) 636-7100

For more general questions, please consult the Student Handbook as a guide to Fordham offices.


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.