With New York City receiving its first case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and global fears beginning to grow, CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez e-mailed CUNY faculty and staff on the University’s response to the outbreak.
“The risk to New Yorkers remains low,” he said in an e-mail sent out this Monday. “However, it has raised our level of concern and we are stepping up our ongoing preparations for the possibility of our city and campuses being impacted by the virus.”
COVID-19 entered the five boroughs with a woman in her late 30s who had just returned from Iran, one of the countries hit hardest by the outbreak. This respiratory illness has so far claimed the lives of six Americans, all in Washington state, four of whom were from a single nursing home. This continues the trend of fatalities of the illness being mostly among senior citizens, rather than college-age students.
“Please be assured that CUNY is taking this possible threat very seriously and we are actively making and updating plans to ensure employee and student safety, as well as continuity of our business and operations across a range of possible scenarios,” Chancellor Matos Rodriguez said in the e-mail. Some of the plans include restocking hand sanitizers, soaps, and other cleaning supplies, as well as having more signage on hygiene. CUNY is also making sure that employees exhibiting symptoms stay home.
Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for a likely global pandemic, the agency still says that risk to Americans is still marginally low.