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University Issues Coronavirus Update

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Since this information was distributed to the campus community on Saturday, February 29, 2020, new developments related to the number of cases of Novel 2019 Coronavirus in New York were publicly reported. Information contained in this message has been updated to reflect this new information as of March 2, 2020 at 1 pm.

Minghua Zhang, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, has shared an update regarding the Novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and the potential impact this outbreak might have on travel plans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week updated its travel guidance, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and now Iran, Italy and South Korea at this time, and to exercise caution when traveling to other regions that are experiencing sustained community transmission, which currently includes Japan. 

Many students, faculty and staff have already been directly impacted by the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 and are concerned about their family and friends in the countries affected. This is a time when our community must come together to support those affected by this outbreak and show compassion and respect. 

Consistent with travel warnings from the CDC, Stony Brook University has expanded its travel restrictions beyond China to include Italy, Iran and South Korea. All Stony Brook-related travel to these countries, including for faculty and staff, is discouraged. Personal travel to these countries also is discouraged. Based on this, and advice from the U.S. State Department, Stony Brook University has established a mandatory pre-approval requirement for all publicly funded University-sponsored travel plans to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea for students, faculty and staff. 

Faculty, staff and students traveling on Research Foundation funds must obtain approval from the Research Foundation Operations Manager by submitting a request through the eFTR system, prior to travel, per Research Foundation policy. 

Faculty, staff and students traveling on non-research funds for University-sponsored travel must complete the form located on the “Travel Policy” page of the Office of Global Affairs’ website, print it out and submit to the President’s office for approval. 

Stony Brook will continue to monitor and follow U.S. Department of State and CDC guidelines related to our students currently in countries that are under Level 2 or Level 3 CDC travel precautions. The University’s Student Support Team, Office of Global Affairs, China Center, and the Provost’s Office have been working with students who have been unable to return to Stony Brook due to the flight restrictions and have helped them explore options such as leave of absence or enrolling in online classes, so they can continue their education based upon their curricular requirements. 

In addition, with SUNY’s guidance, we are not cancelling the Florence University of the Arts program, since the University is continuing classes as usual and to date there has not been a 2019-nCoV outbreak in the Tuscany region. Students who wish to return can do so at their own discretion and cost. We are in contact with our students in Korea to ensure they’re aware of all options available to them, including returning to campus with academic accommodations.

While there are several confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S., no cases have been confirmed in the state of New York. Beyond these travel restrictions, there is currently no recommendation for the general U.S. public to take additional precautions. 

If students, faculty or staff are returning to campus from affected countries, or had close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while that person was ill and has fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, chest pain, shortness of breath) and in the last 14 days before symptom onset had close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient, do not report to class or to the office, and seek medical attention immediately. Call your healthcare provider first to alert them of your recent travel history and/or symptoms. If you’re a student, you can make an appointment at Student Health; just call ahead at 631-632-6740 so they’re ready for you.

 Additionally, it’s flu season in New York. If you are ill, stay home and rest. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

●      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

●      Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

●      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

●      Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

●      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

●      If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

We continue to work closely with public health officials at the local, state and national levels to monitor the spread of COVID-19. Public health officials are providing quarantine guidance and monitoring of individuals identified as being “at risk.” This is a rapidly changing situation, so for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, including travel guidance, please visit the CDC website. For additional information, including how to prevent spread of the disease and what to do if you think you might be infected, please visit the University Coronavirus Information page and the Stony Brook Medicine Coronavirus information page.

For specific questions and information please contact the appropriate office:

Student related issues:

Academic related issues:

International Travel and immigration services:


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