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COVID-19: Email to Faculty, Staff and Students March 4, 2020

Dear colleagues,

With the impact of COVID-19 expanding across the globe, we are writing to provide updated guidance about travel during spring break (March 14-22).

This guidance has been influenced by an assessment of the University’s limited capacity to provide locations for students to self-quarantine, should that be recommended or required for returning travelers.  Because of these limitations, it is very important that student travelers understand that if they are required to self-quarantine, they will have to do so at home for 14 days.  Any student with exigent circumstances that make it impossible for them to return home should contact

We ask all travelers to weigh the necessity of any upcoming travel and understand the risks involved, even beyond the current CDC risk assessment.  International travel increases the risk of exposure to coronavirus disease (COVID-19); additional risks include the potential for unexpected delays and cumbersome logistics upon returning to the U.S.  Those delays could lead to travelers missing classes and work due to self-quarantine or self-isolation measures. We urge all members of the Princeton community to consider these risks when deciding whether to move forward with their travel plans. 

Anyone returning to the U.S. from international travel to a CDC Warning Level 2 or 3 country (whether University-sponsored or personal) must complete this confidential assessment between 48 and 72 hours prior to their return.  Based on this information, you will be given guidance about when you can return to campus.


As described in previous communications, University-sponsored travel may continue for spring break as planned, except for travel to CDC Warning Level 3 countries. University-sponsored travel to those countries is prohibited for all students, faculty, and staff.

However, if your University-sponsored travel is not essential, we urge you to consider postponing your plans given the potential logistical challenges of returning to campus and the limited capacity to self-quarantine returned travelers on campus.  This is especially true for travelers to Asia and Europe, which have been most impacted by COVID-19 thus far.


Many people are planning personal or leisure travel during spring break.  At this time, we recommend that you postpone those plans, especially if they involve travel to Asia or Europe, and we very strongly recommend against personal travel to CDC Level 3 countries.  Personal travel is not covered by the University’s international insurance policy and our emergency response team will have to prioritize those travelling on University-sponsored business. Therefore, our ability to medically support and academically accommodate community members on personal travel will be severely limited for the foreseeable future.

We expect significant numbers of students to cancel or postpone their spring break travel, and the University is prepared to support those students who choose to remain on campus.


We are starting to receive questions about summer travel, especially travel for student groups.  We now recommend that you cancel or postpone all travel to CDC Warning Level 3 countries for the summer.  Several units planning summer programs in mainland China have already cancelled their programs. We are not ready to make a recommendation about summer travel to locations beyond CDC Warning Level 3 locations, but we urge those planning summer trips to Asia and Europe to consider postponing their plans now.  We will reassess whether additional restrictions should be applied for summer travel by April 1, 2020. Campus funding sources should not release payment for any awards in support of summer international activities until this additional guidance has been released.


  • Read Princeton’s COVID-19 website: The University’s coronavirus webpage provides support and guidance to all members of the Princeton community contending with the implications of this global health emergency.  Information is updated regularly.  If you have a question for which there is no answer online, please email us at
  • Register your travel: Now and in the future, the University requires all undergraduate and graduate students to register University-related travel in Concur Request.  This enables all registered travelers to receive timely updates and advisories from Concur sent directly to your email or cell phone.  We also encourage you to download theISOS app.  ISOS can assist the University in locating you and offering support in the event of an emergency.  While there is not yet a general faculty and staff travel registry, members going to CDC Level 2 locations (currently only Japan) must submit basic information through a confidential form.  Beyond registering your travel, there are a number of useful things you can do to prepare for your travel.  Details are available on our online toolkits.
  • Check-in before  you return: All travelers returning from impacted countries (CDC Warning Level 3 and Warning Level 2 countries as well as USDOS Level 4 and Level 3 countries) must fill out this confidential assessment 48-72 hours before their return.  This is both for those on University-sponsored and personal travel.
  • Exercise travel hygiene: During your travel, the most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of illness are common sense measures for maintaining your health and that of others.  See this information about prevention from the CDC website.
  • Get your flu shot before spring travel. If you have not been immunized against influenza (the flu) this season, i.e. during fall 2019 or winter 2020, there is still time to get protection for this major respiratory illness and it is highly recommended for all international and domestic travelers.  University Health Services (UHS) provides free flu shots to students, faculty, and staff by appointment.  Students can call 609-258-3141 and employees 609-258-5035 to make an appointment for this week or early next week for protection during spring break travel. There will be a walk -in flu clinic at University Health Services on Monday March 9th between 11am and 3pm.

Aly Kassam-Remtulla, Ph.D., Associate Provost for International Affairs and Operations

Irini Daskalaki, MD, Infectious Disease Physician, University Health Services

Robin Izzo, M.S., Executive Director, Environmental Health and Safety



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