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Coronavirus FAQ - Faculty and Staff

Edited February 7, 2020 
* indicates new or updated information

*IMPORTANT: All students, faculty, and staff who are currently in China and plan to return on or after February 3rd must call the UHS Global Health Physican at (609) 258-7971 before returning to campus.  
 
All students, faculty and staff who returned prior to February 3rd were expected to complete this survey: http://bit.ly/31fJcdF. The information provided on the Survey is secure and has been kept confidential.
 
*I have students in my class or visiting my office who have recently traveled from China. Is it safe for them to attend class or come to my office?
 
In response to updated guidance from the NJ Department of Health, individuals who have returned from mainland China prior to February 3rd were evaluated to determine their risk category. All members of the University community who were assessed have been determined to be LOW risk, not requiring self-quarantine. Those at low risk may resume all activities, including attending classes and events. 

Anyone returning from mainland China after February 3rd will be evaluated using updated criteria that may require self-quarantine.

If all students are at LOW risk, why are some self-quarantining?

Although not required to self-quarantine, some students, faculty and staff have decided to self-quarantine. The University is committed to supporting them. 

How can I help students who are self-quarantining? 

Please try to accommodate virtual attendance for students who are self-isolating. OIT can help set up Zoom to be able to share audio, video, and/or computer screens.

Rich Bakken, Director of Instructional Support Services, created a list of classrooms outfitted for conferencing (Zoom, GoToMeeting, or other) with equipment such as a monitor or projector and projection screen, camera, computer, microphone and speakers or speakerphone:

  • Frick Chemistry Laboratory - Room B02
  • Jadwin Hall - Room A06
  • Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building - Room A17
  • Louis A. Simpson International Building - Room A71
  • McCormick Hall - Room 101
  • McCosh Hall - Room 50
  • Princeton Neuroscience Institute - Room A32
  • JR Rabinowitz – Room 399
  • JR Rabinowitz  - Room 397
  • Simpson - Room 217
  • Schultz - Room 107
  • Icahn – Room 101
  • Betts Auditorium (Architecture N101)
  • Lewis Library – Rooms 120 and 138
  • Aaron Burr - Room 219

For more information or to request assistance, especially with classrooms not outfitted with conferencing equipment, visit https://iss.princeton.edu/learning-spaces and complete the “Event/Class Support Request” form.

I am planning travel to China soon. What should I do?

The University will not approve University sponsored travel to mainland China until further notice. 

Within the last 14 days, I was in mainland China AND I am exhibiting fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and/or shortness of breath. What should I do? Should I come to work?

You should contact your healthcare provider for advice. You should not come to work until you have been seen by a healthcare professional. If you are tested for novel coronavirus, you should stay home until you receive test results. Please also contact Occupational Health at 609-258-5035 or communityhealth@princeton.edu.

Within the last 14 days, I was in close contact with someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus AND I am exhibiting fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and/or shortness of breath. What should I do? Should I come to work?

You should contact your healthcare provider for advice. You should not come to work until you have been seen by a healthcare professional. If you are tested for novel coronavirus, you should stay home until you receive test results. Please also contact Occupational Health at 609-258-5035 or communityhealth@princeton.edu.

Within the last 14 days, I was in close contact with someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus. I have no symptoms. Should I come to work? Should I check in with anyone?

Individuals who have been in close contact with a coronavirus paitent will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days under the updated NJDOH guidance. Please also contact Occupational Health at 609-258-5035 or communityhealth@princeton.edu.

I have visitors to my lab or office from China. Are there any restrictions? Do they need to check in with anyone?

We are not screening campus visitors. 

*What should I do if one of my staff expresses discomfort interacting with someone who is Chinese?

In the wake of this outbreak, several universities have experienced the targeting and exclusion of Chinese individuals, individuals perceived to be Chinese, and individuals recently returned from China due to fear and misinformation about the virus. Acts of bias, discrimination, and harassment run counter to our University values and Princeton’s policies, including Respect for Others and our nondiscrimination policies, as well as our Statement on Diversity and Community.

Princeton University is committed to maintaining an educational, working and living environment that is free of all forms of discrimination and where every member can thrive. It is essential that each of us uphold and demonstrate these core values of dignity and respect. We encourage you to communicate these values to your staff and colleagues.

What if I am experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family in China?
 
Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family in China may see a counselor; call 609-258-3141 to arrange an appointment, or schedule an initial consultation through myUHS. Students may also reach out to Susan Kim, CPS Outreach Counselor at sk38@princeton.edu, to inquire about her drop in hours at the Graduate College and E-Quad.
 
*Is a surgical mask/facemask helpful in preventing transmission of coronavirus?   
 
From the CDC: "CDC Does not currently recommend the use of facemasks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States."
 
If you see someone wearing a mask, do not assume that they have symptoms or are at risk. Wearing a mask is a widespread preventive habit in several countries, and a gesture of consideration for others.
 
Is the University cancelling any events?

No. Health officials are not advising to cancel or curtail events.

*What can we do to reduce the risk of getting coronavirus?

The best things you can do are the same as those for preventing flu:

  • 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, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash and disinfect your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have not already been immunized against the flu, contact University Health Services to schedule your free flu shot.

*If University faculty, staff, or students are diagnosed with coronavirus, will we be notified?

The University will keep the campus informed as appropriate. Anyone who has been in close contact with an individual diagnosed with coronavirus will be contacted by public health officials.

*Will the employees who were self-quarantining as a result of the government directive be paid while they are out of the office?

Yes. They will be paid as if they were at work until the conclusion of their isolation, up to 14 days.  

*If my department has someone stranded in China as a result of travel restrictions, whom should I consult for ongoing assistance?

The University’s administration is working with affected departments on this issue.  If those departments have questions, contact:

  • Kara Amoratis, associate director, international travel safety and security, for advice about travel
  • Karen Haskin, associate dean of the faculty, for academic professional, including postdocs
  • Oliver Avens, associate dean of the faculty, for appointment, pay or leave questions for faculty

*Are employees who have self-quarantined required to work during their time at home?

Employees and their supervisors should discuss and determine if work can be properly performed during this time. Either way, employees at home during the specified period of self-quarantine will be paid as described above.  

*If I become aware of someone on campus who becomes diagnosed with coronavirus, what should I do?

Contact University Health Services at communityhealth@princeton.edu.

*What is the guidance regarding upcoming travel to China?

Outbound University-sponsored travel to mainland China is not being approved for faculty, staff, and students until further notice.

Where can I get more information on coronavirus? 
 
For up-to-date information, please check the following websites:

University Resources

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