The University, through the OHS, has been monitoring the health status of our community since early February, and there have been few identified cases of COVID-19 in the RU community.
The University has implemented social distancing, face covering, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures and all employees are required to complete a self-assessment checklist before reporting to work in University facilities.
The University offers on-site RNA and serological testing for employees and conducts follow-up contract tracing if needed. Through these and other steps, the University is committed to minimizing the risk of infection on our campus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, and more severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Coronaviruses commonly circulate in animals and sometimes also infect humans. This novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a strain thought to originate in animals that was not previously found in humans. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is named COVID-19.
People with COVID-19 can display a range of symptoms that include:
- Elevated temperature of 99.4°F (37.4°C) or higher, or feeling feverish
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Any gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e., diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.)
- Sudden and significant fatigue
- Loss of taste or smell
The severity of the illness can vary. Some people recover in a few days, and others, especially people with underlying medical conditions, can have life-threatening illness. There are specific tests that can determine whether an infection is caused by SARS-CoV-2, influenza, or another virus. There is no vaccine available and no specific therapy to treat an infection. Consequently, it is imperative to prevent the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 can be transmitted from a person who has the infection through respiratory particles, saliva or fecal contamination. The virus may be transmitted by people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, but are asymptomatic. The incubation period – the time between exposure to the virus and when illness begins – is thought to typically be about 6 days, but can be as short as 2 days and as long as 14 days. The virus is considered to be relatively contagious, moreso than the seasonal influenza virus.
The best way to avoid acquiring infection is social distancing, frequent hand-washing with soap and water and avoiding contact with people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have an undiagnosed respiratory illness. Face coverings can help minimize the spread of the virus by reducing the amount of airborne particles the wearer releases when breathing, speaking, sneezing and coughing. We wear masks to protect others but there is growing evidence that wearing face covering reduces the risk to the wearer as well.
- We have implemented social distancing, face covering, hand hygiene and environmental cleaning policies and procedures. We offer on-site COVID-19 and antibody testing for RU employees. We have require any employee reporting to work to complete a health self-assessment prior to coming to campus, and we require those who are experiencing symptoms, have close contact with someone who has tested positive or is symptomatic and those that have traveled to areas of concern to remain off-campus and self-monitor until cleared for return to work by OHS.
- The University is restricting access to campus to RU employees and approved service personnel only.
- Events that are not mission-critical are canceled until further notice. These include the Tri-I Noon Recitals and the Peggy Rockefeller Concerts, Vendor Equipment Demonstrations, Symposiums and Vendor Trade Shows. Other events and internal “gatherings” (e.g., lectures, symposia) will take place remotely or have been postponed. In person meetings, not matter the size, are being held virtually whenever possible.
- We are ensuring that we have adequate inventory of materials and items needed for normal operations as well as for response actions that RU essential personnel may have to undertake.
- We have prohibited business travel to certain areas of concern and are encouraging members of our community to avoid travel to areas of outbreak. And we have implemented a self-monitoring program for members of our community who have traveled within areas of concern.
- Practice social distancing and avoid large crowds of people.
- Wear face covering in public when it is not feasible to maintain at least six feet distance from others.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you’ve touched someone who is sick. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people who are experiencing symptoms.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay home if you are ill and contact your healthcare provider.
- Receive a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not already done so.
Dr. Nisha Mehta-Naik and Lauren Rosenblum, LCSW provide on-site/telehealth confidential counseling and medical services to employees and students.
To schedule a confidential appointment, please call (212) 327-8414.
More mental health resources:
The (OSPA) is reviewing questions relating to the allowability of costs associated with any disruptions to sponsored projects stemming from the coronavirus. Current information and guidance will be posted to the OSPA website.
- Send questions to your Sponsored Program Officer or to Collette Ryder, Director of OSPA.
- In order for a cost to be allowable, it will require consistent treatment across all funding sources.
- The federal funding agencies have issued guidance on COVID-19 impacts on research. Please see this site from the Council on Governmental Relations for agency-specific information.