1/28: Update on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

January 28, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Please see the attached letter sent to all students from Winston Crisp, vice president for student affairs, and Dr. Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer, USC Student Health.

As you are probably aware, there is a fair amount of concern about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has stated that there is no immediate threat to the general public, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified only five confirmed cases across the United States.

While we do not have any confirmed cases of the coronavirus at USC, we want to ensure that all members of our community receive timely and accurate information. Please help us to reassure students and colleagues about the low risk that the virus poses to our community and direct students and peers to up-to-date factual resources.

There are currently no restrictions on any member of the faculty, staff, or student body. All classes and university business are continuing as normally scheduled. Please refer to official communications channels to dispel rumors. Please also follow common-sense steps to prevent illness, such as handwashing and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus at USC, we have a well-established communicable disease protocol that will be activated.

For the latest information, you can monitor the USC Emergency page or the USC Student Health News page. You can also track updates at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many common questions are answered in the USC Student Health Q&A that was posted last week and updated regularly.


Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President, Human Resources

USC Community

Sarah Van Orman, M.D., Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health
Winston B. Crisp, Vice President for Student Affairs

January 28, 2020

Update on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Dear USC Family,

We are writing today to update you about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We want to acknowledge that this is an upsetting situation, and our thoughts go out to any members of our community who have family or loved ones affected by this new type of coronavirus.

It is very important for us to share accurate and up-to-date information so you can fully understand the issue and help to dispel many of the rumors that are circulating.

During times like this, inaccurate information – even when well-intended – can spread widely. For example, last night there was a false report about a student being diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus.  Please take the time to read the information provided here. Nothing is as important as your safety.

No cases have affected the USC community. All classes and university businesses are continuing as normally scheduled. If anything changes, the campus community would be notified immediately.

We also want everyone to understand that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported there is no immediate threat to the general public. No special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel history.

The university remains in close contact with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. They have the direct contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and would conduct testing and release any reports of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus. USC officials would be notified immediately, and this information would be shared with the campus communities.

In addition, we have comprehensive emergency management plans in place if a case is confirmed. We already have increased cleaning and sanitizing measures to safeguard against the spread of viruses, including the flu, which currently is widespread in Los Angeles.

There are several ways we can help each other over the coming days. Here are a few steps we all can take:

  1. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing prevents the spread of a virus, as does handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  2. Help us communicate accurate information and quash rumors, especially those circulating on social media. Please respect the privacy of all individuals. We will always provide updates whenever there is development with USC.
  3. Treat everyone in the Trojan family with kindness. We have heard from students that they have faced microaggressions and have felt excluded. This goes against our values.
  4. Stay home if you are sick with a fever and contact us to see a medical provider at 213-740-9355 (WELL).
  5. Reach out if you need support for stress or worry. Special “Let’s Talk” sessions have been added this week at the Office of International Students. You also can reach mental health services at 213-740-9355. If you are concerned about a fellow Trojan who may be feeling ill or who appears to be struggling, please submit your concern via Trojans Care 4 Trojans, and the university will follow up based on the information provided.

Again, we want to emphasize that we are working closely with experts in medical care and public health to implement all recommended preventative measures. By keeping well informed, not spreading rumors or speculating, and by following recommended hygiene measures, we can ensure the health and well-being of our community. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the frequently asked questions on the USC Student Health website.