Local colleges and universities monitor novel strain developments of coronavirus

Local News

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — Local colleges and universities are taking precautions as concern over the coronavirus continues to spread.

Colleges and universities in the area are continuing to monitor developments related to the novel strain of the coronavirus.

Syracuse University released a statement to all students, faculty and staff stressing general travel warnings and the college’s new travel safety policy.

SU encourages anyone who has been to China within the last 14 days to tell the school where they have been.

Meanwhile, Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oswego and Colgate University said they are communicating regularly with local, state and federal agencies. This includes the CDC and New York State’s Department of Health.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, the division chief of Infectious Diseases at SUNY Upstate, spoke with NewsChannel 9 and urged everyone to be aware of the virus and its ability to spread.

“It’s pretty clear from some of the investigations that they’ve done with some of the initial cases over in China that this is something spread from person to person, which would be consistent with coronaviruses,” said Thomas.

He also said the following: “You know, the coronavirus that cause the common cold every winter, we know are spread from person to person through respiratory droplets and exposure to secretions and things like that.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released an update on the testing for the novel coronavirus in New York State.

As of Tuesday, the state’s Department of Public Health has tested 10 people. Seven of those tested came back negative and three are still pending.

There have been no confirmed cases in New York State as of Tuesday, January 28.

Syracuse University Statement

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Syracuse University continues to closely monitor the rapidly evolving developments related to the novel coronavirus. Five cases are now confirmed in the U.S., and there are dozens of other suspected cases.

Travel Warnings:

Because the virus is spreading beyond borders as the result of international travel, the following warnings have been issued:

— The U.S. Department of State elevated its warnings on travel, advising that Americans avoid any travel plans to all parts of China, not just the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province.

— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Warning advising that Americans avoid all nonessential travel to China.

Accordingly, we strongly encourage all faculty and staff to pay close attention to CDC and State Department warnings in contemplating their travels to China, and check your inbox regularly for updates from the University.

Syracuse University Travel Registry:

In addition, as you may be aware, Syracuse University has a new travel and safety policy, which is currently under review by several University Senate committees. Given the recent international concern over the spread of the virus—and its impact on international travel to and from the China—we are moving forward with expediting the international travel registry. This measure will add a greater layer of protection to our campus community while respecting the academic, scholarly and research mission of our university:

— All members of our campus community will be required to register any international travel they are undertaking for University business, regardless of length and destination, prior to their departure (Syracuse Abroad program participants are already registered).

— Registration essentially means letting the University know about dates of travel, destinations and contact information in case we need to reach them or an emergency contact.

— To register, send an email to temptravelregistry@syr.edu identifying the traveler(s), relevant SU I.D. number(s), all destinations and the dates of travel. Please direct registration questions to Seth Tucker, director of global safety and support, satucker@syr.edu or at 315.443.1968.

Self-Report China Travel:

Finally, if you have been to China in the last 14 days, we ask that you self-report this travel by contacting Seth Tucker, director of global safety and support, satucker@syr.edu or at 315.443.1968. This information will be treated as confidential.

Safety Precautions:

We continue to remain acutely focused on education and prevention efforts to contain the spread of any communicable illness, given that we are also in the middle of flu season. We urge you to remain diligent. Students should call the Barnes Center at The Arch (315.443.8000) and faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician should they develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. To learn more about preventive health practices, please visit the Barnes Center at The Arch website.

We will continue to monitor the information, protocols and recommendations from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. And we will continue provide regular updates to our community.


Steven Bennett – Senior Vice President for Academic Operations
Tony Callisto – Senior Vice President for Safety and Chief Law Enforcement Officer
Dr. Karen Nardella – Medical Director, Barnes Center at The Arch

Colgate University Statement

Colgate Student Health Services is closely following updates from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. As always, the health and safety of our students is our first priority, and we will continue to track this international situation as it unfolds

Ithaca College Statement

Dear Ithaca College Faculty, Staff and Students:

Due to the recent outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that originated in Wuhan, in the Hubei Province of China, I wanted to reach out directly to keep you informed.

While we are not aware of anyone in our community having contracted this strain and believe the risk to our campus community to be low, Ithaca College is working with our campus partners (including Environmental Health and Safety) and local and state resources (Tompkins County Health Department and New York State Department of Health) to help protect the health of our community members.

Coronaviruses are viruses that can cause the common cold but also can cause other illnesses like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Though commonly circulating in animals, coronaviruses can infect humans as well.

Symptoms related to this coronavirus strain include fever (above 100.4 F) and a cough or shortness of breath. This coronavirus infection can lead to pneumonia and other complications if severe.

The mode of transmission is still not clear.  To reduce your risk of infection (or of infecting others), we are recommending covering your cough, washing your hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and not sharing food or drinks. If you are not feeling well, please stay home from class or work and rest.

Students with questions or concerns should contact the Hammond Health Center at 607-274-3177. 

We are encouraging our faculty and staff to contact their local primary care providers if questions or concerns arise.

Click here for full statement and additional links.

SUNY Cortland Statement

Infectious Disease Updates

Influenza is a threat to your health and can adversely affect your academic performance should you become ill.  Influenza activity is high and geographically widespread with both Influenza A and B being common.  We still have approximately 30 vaccines.  While the protection afforded by the vaccine is not complete, it is clearly beneficial.  Consider making an appointment with a nurse at SHS while supplies last.

Coronavirus – Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause the common cold and have the ability to cause viral pneumonia (lung infection).  They circulate in the general population fairly continuously and generally do not generate much attention.  Periodically, a species of coronavirus that normally affects animals gains the ability to infect humans.  Previous outbreaks include SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2004 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2014.  The current outbreak of Coronavirus (Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV) follows a similar pattern, beginning in Wuhan City, China in December of 2019 and spreading internationally due to widespread air travel.  The clinical manifestations of 2019-nCoV include fever, cough and possibly pneumonia with breathing difficulty. The illness may afflict those with compromised immune systems more severely.  There is no specific treatment for this virus and immunizations are not available that afford any protection.

The risk of Coronavirus appearing on campus is currently quite low.  In comparison to influenza, the risk to students is minimal.  We are however, closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds.  We are in contact with Local and State Health Departments and are observing and implementing all recommendations the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publishes.
Routine measures to reduce transmission of infectious include the following:
— Wash your hands well after using the bathroom, before preparing or eating food, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and visiting or caring for a sick person. 
— Cover a cough. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, then dispose of it. 
— Don’t share food, drinks, dishes, glasses, or eating utensils.
— Avoid direct contact with napkins, tissues, handkerchiefs, or similar items used by others.

SUNY Oswego Statement

“SUNY Oswego is following clinical guidance received from SUNY and the State Health Department (DOH), in response to Governor Cuomo’s call to raise awareness regarding the Coronavirus, the symptoms and resources available on campuses.

While the risk of Coronavirus on our campus is very minimal, we have made monitoring this situation a top priority.  We shared a message yesterday (on the first day of classes) with students and all members of the SUNY Oswego campus community that provided information about the Coronavirus, resources available on campus and encouraged all to maintain good health practices that are paramount to preventing the spread of any and all communicable illnesses.”

Sarah Scalese, the Vice President in charge of Communications at SU, released the following statement:

“As an international institution with students, faculty and staff from across the globe, Syracuse University continues to actively monitor the developments related to the newly detected coronavirus. Although there are no confirmed cases in the State of New York, we are engaged in a comprehensive education campaign to inform our students, faculty and staff about the prevention, detection and treatment of the virus. In addition to our communications efforts, Dr. Karen Nardella and her team are communicating regularly with local, state and federal partners, including the Onondaga County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health, as we continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation.”

Dave Maley with Ithaca College said the following:

“Health Center is continuing to work with our health and educational partners in the community, as well as the NYS Dept. of Health and federal CDC, to ensure that we are taking the right steps for the health of our campus community.”

Cornell University has a coronavirus FAQ page on their website. Click here to view questions and answers regarding the coronavirus.

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