Dear Members of the University Community,
Today we have the first confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 at Fordham, of an undergraduate who has been at home since March 10. The University is already checking class records to inform their classmates and others they may have been exposed. The student did not exhibit symptoms until March 15, thus the likelihood that they were contagious while on campus is low.
At this point, I assume you have all been monitoring your own health with an eye toward COVID-19 symptoms. The virus is now so widespread that almost any of us could have been exposed to it. The number of cases in New York City is growing quickly, as you can see from the New York City Department of Health chart below (status as of March 18). Therefore, unless we become aware of a person with a confirmed case who has been on campus within two weeks of their diagnosis, we will not be issuing updates on each new case. There are more than 20,000 students, faculty, and staff in the campus community, and it is a statistical certainty that more of us will show symptoms in the coming weeks.
As you can see, we are entering a new phase in the spread of the virus. I encourage you to be vigilant about precautions and prevention, and more mindful of the possibility of exposing others. The University will continue to inform students, faculty, staff, and parents of significant developments on campus, and among the now-dispersed campus community.
Finally, I urge you all to balance caution with good cheer. Most who contract COVID-19 recover fully and relatively quickly. Public officials are acting in our best interests to slow the spread of the virus and to care for those who contract it. Life will go on, including the life of the University. Attend to your loved ones and to your own emotional and spiritual wellbeing. We are all in this together in the most literal sense possible: care for the whole person was never more necessary nor more welcome.
You are all in my prayers, day and night.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.