Shortly after the outbreak of the NEW CORONAVIRUS DISEASE COVID-19 in China, Princeton students returned to begin the spring semester. The University conducted risk assessments for nearly 150 students, faculty, and staff who had recently traveled from China, and all were assessed as “low risk” by Feb. 3, the first day of classes.
The process spanned four days, beginning Jan. 31, when a University-wide email asked all campus community members who had returned from mainland China to complete an online registration form. Those travelers were temporarily required to “self-isolate,” either in campus housing (including the University-owned Palmer House) or at home, for those living off campus.
Following the risk assessments, which University spokesman Michael Hotchkiss said included “gathering information on where travelers have been, with whom they have interacted, and whether they have any symptoms,” all travelers were determined to have low risk and were no longer required to self-isolate.
As of Feb. 13, a small number of students and researchers — fewer than 10 graduate students and fewer than 10 postdocs — were unable to return from China due to U.S. entry restrictions. “We are working one-on-one with these valued members of the University community to offer support and assistance,” Hotchkiss said.
Princeton temporarily halted travel to mainland China on University business or as part of a University-sponsored program. Students and staff in the Novogratz Bridge Year Program’s Kunming, China, group were relocated to Taiwan in late January. A decision on how long they will remain there was still being evaluated in early February. Operations at the Princeton China Center in Beijing have not been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Three of the University administrators directing Princeton’s coronavirus response — representing the provost’s office, University Health Services, and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety — wrote a Feb. 5 Daily Princetonian column in which they thanked members of the campus community for “doing all they can to help ensure the safety of their fellow students and community members.”