Dear Campus Community,

I am writing to the campus community to provide information regarding the emerging and rapidly evolving outbreak of a new and novel coronavirus which was recently identified in Wuhan, China. While there is still much to learn about the virus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still considers the risk to the American public to be low.

Outbreak of a novel virus infection is always a public health concern and the College is taking steps to mitigate any potential impact on our campus. Risks from the outbreak depend on the characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people and the severity of the illness. Global surveillance is still in the early stages and I expect more cases will be confirmed in the US and other parts of the world. Health officials in China have reported hundreds of confirmed cases. Most patients have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and while most completely recover a small percentage have severe illness.

The College will continue to monitor the outbreak as it evolves over the next several weeks and our plan will remain flexible as new information becomes available. In addition to the screening for the coronavirus occurring at airports, the Health Center has reached out to the Lafayette community members we know to have traveled in the impacted areas and we are providing additional screenings for those community members when they return to campus. If you have traveled to an area where the virus has been present please contact the health center so you can take part in a screening as well. 

We can limit the spread of respiratory viruses by taking simple precautions of practicing good cough hygiene, hand washing, and sanitizing personal spaces. As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

I will update the community as new information becomes available from the Centers for Disease Control.


Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Director of Health Services