A Message for Susquehanna about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

January 29, 2020

As worldwide reports about the emergence of novel coronavirus that was centered in Wuhan, China (2019-nCoV) are accumulating daily, we as a community are taking precautions.

Things to know at Susquehanna:

Don’t panic. The threat to the Susquehanna University community currently is considered low. We have no reported cases of persons with the viral symptoms at the university or in the local community. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated, “For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low.”

We’re monitoring. University officials are being advised by public health officials. Senior Leadership Team members are regularly meeting with a representative of the Geisinger Health System and various SU departments, including the Student Health Center, the Global Opportunities program, Student Life, Facilities, and other offices and experts to monitor this evolving world situation.

Address symptoms. Any student who recently has been to China and developed fever with cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel, or who possibly has come in contact with an infected individual, should contact the Student Health Center at 570-372-4385 (an on-call nurse is available for medical advice 24/7). As a normal protocol, wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms. Similarly, faculty or staff should seek medical assistance through your primary care physician.

Travel advisories. The CDC issued severe warnings and advised deferring all nonessential travel to China. The U.S. Department of State has issued a “do not travel” advisory for all of Hubei Province. In light of the CDC advisory, SU President Jonathan Green has placed a moratorium on student, faculty and staff for university-related travel to China until this matter is resolved. This is effective immediately (Jan. 29, 2020).

If you are planning travel abroad, remember to:

  • For students, register all international travel through the Global Opportunities (GO) Office at susqu.edu.
  • For faculty and staff, register international travel at the new Travel Registration Form.
  • Visit the Student Health Center or your primary care physician in advance for current travel health and vaccination recommendations.
  • Sign up for the State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive embassy alerts for your destinations.

Prevention helps. The best preventative steps for any communicable respiratory disease include simple yet important measures as part of your daily routine:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or longer with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizers). Especially, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Likewise, if you are sick, stay home.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g., cellphones, pens).
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Immediately dispose of tissues.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • It’s concurrently flu and respiratory disease season; the CDC recommends getting vaccinated for the flu.

Caring and preparing. The university will continue to work closely with partners at the Geisinger Health System and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to prepare for, screen, and prevent the spread of illness and keep our community safe. We will continue to provide updates as needed to the Susquehanna community.

For more information about COVID-19 and updated advisories, visit:

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

WHO World Health Organization https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

STEP Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  https://step.state.gov