Provost shares message with community amid ongoing global coronavirus outbreak

February 17, 2020

Dear Penn State community,

As I read about the fundraising efforts of our students and University Health Services to provide much-needed medical supplies to the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, I couldn’t help but feel pride in this service coming from our Penn State community. It is in this spirit that I share with you this update on the status of the coronavirus at the University, and our precautionary safety efforts and available resources.

I’m pleased to report that at this time there are no cases, or suspected cases, of coronavirus on any Penn State campus, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immediate risk to the American public is considered low. However, the University remains vigilant. We have restricted University-affiliated student travel to China, and such travel for faculty and staff is discouraged, and will be approved only under extenuating circumstances. In our health care clinics, providers are inquiring about the travel history of every patient. Anyone with a fever, cough or sore throat is provided a mask regardless of travel history. And we have health protocols in place should anyone be found to have the virus.

Unfortunately, there have been media reports of prejudiced and even hostile behavior directed toward Chinese individuals and others of Asian descent, including at other universities and, in a few instances, at our campuses as well. It is critically important to our community that all are safe, and welcome. No one should feel targeted because of their heritage or homeland.

Our Chinese and Asian communities deserve — and have — our support. We send our deepest sympathies to those in our community who have family or friends suffering from this virus, or are facing the uncertainty of extended quarantines. We offer our heartfelt support to you during this most difficult time.

For the latest information from Penn State on coronavirus, visit: sites.psu.edu/virusinfo. As we have shared before, the University has the below services available to support affected students and faculty members:

Student Care and Advocacy 

Counseling and Psychological Services 

Global Programs

University Health Services 

We are all Penn Staters, and we are all in this together. Finally, remember, the everyday flu can be a risk to your health, so I encourage everyone who hasn’t already done so to get a seasonal flu shot.

Respectfully,

Nicholas P. Jones

Provost

Last Updated February 19, 2020