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President Eisgruber releases letter on COVID-19’s spread

<p><em>University President Christopher L. Eisgruber</em></p>
<h6><em>Photo Credit: Jon Ort/ The Daily Princetonian</em></h6>

University President Christopher L. Eisgruber

Photo Credit: Jon Ort/ The Daily Princetonian

On Tuesday, University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 wrote to the University community about the global spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus.

At 11:32 a.m. on March 3, Eisgruber released a letter on preparing for and mitigating impacts of the global epidemic. Eisgruber encouraged members of the community to employ basic health practices, including washing hands often and thoroughly. He outlined three major steps in combating the crisis: taking care of oneself, planning ahead, and staying informed.

The letter asked faculty and staff to stay home from work should they not feel well and asked students to contact McCosh Health Center if they need medical care. Eisgruber urged students who fall ill to forgo class and make alternate accommodations.

“Many of us try to ‘power through’ a cold or a fever,” he wrote. “So, let me be perfectly clear — the best thing you can do for yourself, your friends and your colleagues is to take care of yourself if you aren’t feeling well.”

Given that COVID-19’s impact on the University’s day-to-day operations continues to unfold, Eisgruber implored faculty to “work with the Dean of Faculty’s office to identify strategies for continuing coursework under various scenarios” while administrative staff continue to refresh and review contingency plans.

Reaffirming the University’s commitment to its community amid inconveniences and disruptions, Eisgruber noted, “We are fortunate to have an excellent staff of experienced professionals across campus planning for, and responding to, the problems posed by [COVID-19].”

“Their job is not easy,” he added. “Our team is working tirelessly seven days a week to support the health and safety of our community in response to rapidly evolving circumstances and incomplete information. We are fortunate to have such outstanding and dedicated people working on our behalf.”

Eisgruber acknowledged disruptions to study abroad programs and international travel plans. 

“I want to express my appreciation to those who have accommodated these changes or helped to support the people affected by them,” he wrote, adding, “we will all need to be ready to adapt our behavior and make some sacrifices in the months ahead.”

Specifically, the virus’s spread has disrupted the Novogratz Bridge Year China program, several placements in the International Internship Program (IIP), and study abroad programs in Italy, China, and South Korea, among other events and enterprises.

“So far, the impacts of [COVID-19] on Princeton have been limited, but even limited impacts can cause real disruptions and inconveniences,” Eisgruber wrote. “Working together, I am confident that we will be able to navigate whatever lies ahead and support one another through this difficult and uncertain time.”

The University website is updated with the latest relevant information and guidance. Additional information is available on the Emergency Management website.

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