The Office of the President
March 2, 2020

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

As SUNY Oswego and colleges and universities across the country continue to monitor developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its potential impact on our campus, I write to you today to assure you that the health and safety of all members of our campus community, particularly those students currently studying abroad or planning to travel internationally, is of utmost concern for SUNY Oswego.

To that end, SUNY Oswego has already taken a number of steps to respond to and prepare for the possible spread of the virus. Over this past weekend, we made the official decision to cancel all international spring break programs and communicated on Saturday morning with the 49 students who were planning to participate this March in programs in Italy, Japan, France and Ireland.  

This past weekend, we also reached out to our students currently studying abroad and, while none of our programs have been officially cancelled, we recommended that those in Level 3 countries (currently Italy and South Korea) return home at this time. For all students abroad, we have encouraged them to connect with us to discuss their options for returning home and outlined how we are prepared to assist them with completing their courses, and any restrictions, screening and quarantine they may encounter upon their return to the United States and to the Oswego campus.

Please know that Oswego is working together with our campus leaders as well as with SUNY administration and local and state health departments. We are communicating and sharing information – with your health and safety in mind. Earlier this morning, several members of the college leadership team joined me on a conference call with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, SUNY presidents, and Brad Hutton, deputy commissioner for public health for the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to discuss precautions and guidance for our campuses along with what actions SUNY and our campuses need to take to protect our students, faculty and staff studying and traveling overseas.

This afternoon, a key group of administrators and professional staff participated in a webinar specifically tailored for the higher education community. On the webinar, entitled Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): A New York State Department of Health Update for Higher Education, the NYSDOH presented updates on the outbreak and reviewed the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NYSDOH targeted for higher education and local health departments.

I have also asked Vice President Jerri Howland to form a COVID-19 task force on our campus that will regularly bring a collective group of campus constituents together to further discuss prevention, response, contingency plans and adherence to our already present Pandemic Response Plan and infectious disease protocol. Visit Oswego's COVID-19 website for more information.

In addition, with spring break drawing near, we strongly recommend that all students and employees who may have plans to travel abroad, especially to Level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) affected areas, for business or personal reasons, reconsider their plans. We strongly urge you to research the impact of the coronavirus on your planned destination. You should particularly consider whether a change in itinerary is prudent to avoid the possibility that your freedom of movement may become restricted due to health precautions.

We will also be asking all students, faculty and staff who have or are planning to travel to any international destination, and are returning to the United States, to complete a SUNY Oswego Travel Declaration form – a declaration outlining upcoming international travel as well as where you have traveled since February 15, 2020. This will help SUNY Oswego and the appropriate local and federal officials provide appropriate guidance to protect you and the rest of our campus community upon your return to the United States and the Oswego campus. 

The spread of the coronavirus is a fluid situation worldwide and continues to unfold. It is vitally important that we all continue to take precautions and exercise good preventative health practices, especially as you consider making plans to travel during spring break. CDC recommends everyday preventive 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 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 or your sleeve (not your hands).

Visit CDC’s website on basic protective measures against the coronavirus.

We will continue to provide updates to our campus community with information, protocols and recommendations received from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. Below please find some of the official online sources that have been provided as a reference regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the related health, safety and international travel advisories.


Deborah F. Stanley

Helpful Coronavirus (COVID-19) Links:

Office of the President
706 Culkin Hall
Copyright © 2020 SUNY Oswego, All rights reserved.