Message to University Community Regarding Novel Coronavirus

Author: Erik Runyon

Note: Dated communications are archived here for reference, but may not reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Dear Notre Dame Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As most of you know, there is understandable concern in this country and abroad over the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The illness originated in Wuhan, China, but has spread to other countries, including the United States.

Notre Dame officials have been closely monitoring the evolving news about this illness for several weeks and also have been in communication with county and state health departments. At this point, we have no reason to believe there is any risk to members of the Notre Dame community, and the American College Health Association has advised that there currently is “no basis for changing business as usual regarding housing, campus events, and other circumstances under which large groups of people will be gathering.”

Based upon guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department, the University is taking several proactive steps to ensure the safety and health of our campus community, including:

  • University-sponsored travel to mainland China for all students, staff, and faculty is prohibited until further notice. The U.S. State Department regularly offers guidance for travelers and Thursday issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for all of mainland China.
  • If you are returning from mainland China with fever or respiratory symptoms, stay home, limit contact with others, and call to consult with University Health Services, the Notre Dame Wellness Center, or your primary care provider.
  • The CDC is not advising quarantine for travelers who do not have symptoms simply based on their travel history or home address. If that advice changes, the University is prepared.

Notre Dame values the many people of different nationalities and cultures who are cherished members of our community and, in keeping with the recommendations of the CDC and State Department, is taking these steps out of an abundance of caution.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, much like the common cold and flu. Coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower- respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle aches, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Because this is a new virus, information is still developing, including all the ways it is transmitted. At this time, the primary risk factor appears to be related to the outbreak in Wuhan. Anyone who has symptoms described above, and has traveled to that region in China within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms, or who has had contact with someone known to be infected with coronavirus (or who is currently being tested) is encouraged to contact a health care provider. Students should call ahead to schedule a visit to University Health Services (Saint Liam’s Hall, 631-7497) or contact their primary care provider. Faculty and staff should call the Wellness Center for questions or a screening ((574) 634-WELL [9355]) or contact their primary care provider.

More information about this coronavirus and University policies has been posted on the University Health Services website, the Wellness Center portal, the Notre Dame International website, the CDC website, and U.S. State Department website. Updates will be posted at

As with any virus, it is important to use good self-care habits, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your cough
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Don’t share food or drinks
  • If you get sick, stay home and rest

The University will continue to closely monitor this health risk with the expectation that guidelines and recommendations will change. We will provide updates when warranted.