March 5, 2020
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community:
The Colleges continue to monitor the latest information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and manage our campus response accordingly. While there are now several confirmed cases in State of New York, no members of the HWS community have been diagnosed and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes, “most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus….” However, because the circumstances surrounding the virus are rapidly evolving and more cases will likely be diagnosed in the coming days, appropriate precautions, planning and communication are essential.
The working group of Hobart and William Smith staff — from the Offices of the President, Provost, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Deans, Campus Life and the Center for Global Education — is meeting daily to discuss developments and assess our plans going forward. We remain in constant contact with local healthcare service providers and local and state health departments, whose guidance shapes our precaution and response strategies.
In accordance with HWS international travel policy, the Colleges will not sponsor travel to CDC-designated Level 3 sites, which at this time includes China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Because of Italy’s designation as a Level 3 site, over the weekend we canceled our program there and have worked to get all students back to their homes in the United States. Those students and the faculty leading the program have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and will return to campus after spring break.
We are working with other offices on campus including the Center for Teaching and Learning and IT Services to review how alternate teaching and learning methods might be employed in the event of cancelation of additional global education programs.
We advise those traveling during spring break to exercise appropriate caution and consult the CDC’s COVID-19 travel information and U.S. State Department travel advisories related to COVID-19. If you become symptomatic during spring break, please do not to return to campus; first seek an assessment and advice from your local health care provider on how to proceed. As a reminder, students wishing to stay in Geneva for spring break can register for housing by visiting the myHousing portal.
In the meantime, continue to practice good hygiene, stay home if you have flu-like symptoms and remember to stay apprised of the facts and help stop the spread of fear and rumors regarding the virus’ origin or transmission.
Provost and Dean of Faculty
Vice President for Student Affairs