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Coronavirus: Email to Students, Faculty and Staff 2-17-20

We write to update you on the University’s response to the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19). As of yesterday, Sunday February 16, 2020, all individuals who returned from mainland China on or before February 3rd have completed 14 days of self-quarantine or self-observation and are now participating fully in all campus activities including attending classes, eating in the dining halls, working in laboratories and offices, etc.  As operations return to normal, please help our community remain vigilant against acts of bias, discrimination, and harassment which have emerged due to fear and misinformation about the virus. 

More than 150 students, faculty, and staff notified the University that they had returned from mainland China between January 16 and February 2, 2020. Using a risk assessment questionnaire based on criteria provided by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) for individuals returning before February 3, 2020, University Health Services (UHS) determined all returnees to be LOW risk, not requiring self-quarantine.  We know of no one who has been in contact with a person diagnosed with Covid-19. Regardless, several students, faculty, and staff decided to continue to self-quarantine, even after receiving their risk status.

The University continues to monitor the Covid-19 global outbreak, along with our local and state health authorities, keeping up-to-date with and implementing new guidance as appropriate. If conditions change, we will update the campus community. If we learn of any member of the campus community who is being tested for the virus, we will share appropriate information.

If you see someone wearing a mask, do not assume that the individual wearing it has symptoms or is at risk. Wearing a mask is a widespread preventive habit in several countries, and is viewed as a gesture of consideration for others. 

We deeply appreciate each and every one of our returned travelers for their patience and cooperation throughout this difficult period. During a time when they were stressed about their own situations and worried about family and friends in China, they were sensitive and mindful about the concerns of the entire campus community. 


Students, faculty, staff, and visitors coming from mainland China to the United States since February 3rd will need to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last day in mainland China.  For students returning to live on campus, we will facilitate self-quarantine by providing support for housing, food, and academics during this two-week period.  While we cannot facilitate self-quarantine for faculty members, staff, and visitors, we can provide advice about how to do this. 

Any student, faculty member, staff, or visitor planning to come to the Princeton University campus from mainland China is expected to share their plans by e-mailing Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to respond to a survey to allow University Health Services (UHS) to complete a risk assessment and receive guidance.  


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has placed a temporary ban on entry into the United States for foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents).  The U.S. Department of State travel advisory continues to be Level 4 - Do not Travel to China.

Until further notice, no students, faculty, or staff will be approved to travel to mainland China on University business or as part of a University-sponsored program.  This restriction is in place until March 23 and may be extended if circumstances warrant.  We strongly recommend deferring other types of travel (leisure, personal interest) for the foreseeable future.


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 we all be supportive, respectful, and inclusive of the members of our community who are affected by this global issue.

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 to Princeton’s policies, including our Respect for Others and Non-Discrimination policies, as well as our Statement on Diversity and Community.


The University continues to monitor for new information, including updated guidance from state and national authorities. Updated information and answers to frequently asked questions are always available on the Coronavirus Disease website.

Please direct any questions to Your e-mail will be forwarded to the appropriate office to answer.


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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