Dear Members of the Fordham Family:
I know there is concern among you regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak, and what the University is doing to address the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Rumors notwithstanding, there are still no confirmed cases of the illness at Fordham. As of today we have one faculty member whose spouse may have been exposed to COVID-19 patients. Out of an abundance of caution that faculty member is self-isolating for 14 days and teaching their course online.
We have shared several alerts via email about precautions and planning, which you can find along with other information at Fordham.edu/coronavirus. We are receiving questions regarding canceling classes, taking classes online, and how or whether the University will operate if the outbreak becomes more widespread. Some of those questions are currently unanswerable, but I can tell you that senior administrators across the University are involved in intensive planning to address every contingency we can.
Our primary concern, of course, is the health and safety of every member of the University community. We will take whatever measures necessary to limit exposure to the virus. Toward that end we have assembled a suite of actions to ensure the academic enterprise continues without increasing the risk to members of the campus community. Those measures include:
- The University is in constant contact with the New York State Department of Health, the CDC, and the NYC Health Department.
- Fordham’s Emergency Management Team, comprised of members from every area across the University, meets regularly to share information and update contingency plans.
- Per New York State Department of Health guidelines, the University is requiring students, faculty, and staff returning to campus from highly impacted regions (China, Korea, Japan, and Italy) to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
- To mitigate the risk of increased personal and communal viral exposure to COVID-19, the University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel involving students.
- Faculty are preparing to deliver all classes online if the need should arise before the end of the spring semester.
- Custodial personnel continue to deep clean common areas and restrooms on an accelerated schedule.
- While no scheduled large-scale events have been canceled or postponed, the University is monitoring developments and will make modifications accordingly and/or as required by the New York State Department of Health.
- Fordham has established an FAQ page around the coronavirus for students and their parents.
- Human Resources is communicating with all university employees a set of protocols around self-quarantine and developing readiness for business continuity should the campus need to close for an indefinite period.
Administrators and faculty leaders are meeting frequently to address the coronavirus outbreak, and we are in daily contact with federal, state, and city health authorities regarding this fast-moving issue. We will continue to send alerts (and post them to the website) as new information becomes available. On that note, there is a great deal of misinformation on the outbreak in the public sphere: I urge you to get your information from reputable sources such as the CDC, the New York City Department of Health, and your healthcare provider.
We understand that the outbreak is cause for anxiety for many people. Please be assured by the fact that we are, and will continue to be, in continuous discussion and planning regarding the outbreak and its impact on the Fordham community. Again, your safety and wellbeing is our primary concern—as a Jesuit University, it could not be otherwise.
Finally, please know that you and your loved ones are in my prayers every day. We will get through this together.
Joseph M. McShane S.J., President