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January 31 Update from the Provost

Provost email header with Villanova seal

Dear Villanova Community Members,

As you have surely seen in the news, we are writing to provide information about the novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency following its spread from China to more than a dozen other countries. We want to assure you that University health and safety professionals are closely monitoring the situation and making any necessary preparations if the virus were to be reported in this area or on our campus.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania or at Villanova; in addition, we have no students studying abroad in China this semester. The risk of the novel coronavirus to the Villanova community is low; however, the Student Health Center is seeing respiratory illnesses that mimic some of the symptoms of the coronavirus. Seasonal influenza remains the predominant issue of the Villanova Student Health Center at this time. Below is information we do want to share about traveling to China and about the virus itself.  

Travel Warning

The US Department of State has now issued a travel advisory, telling Americans not to travel to China because of the public health threat posed by the coronavirus. It has set the new advisory at Level 4, or red—its highest alert. Therefore, the State Department recommends that any planned travel to China be rescheduled, delayed or cancelled.

Information about the Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large and very common family of viruses. Symptoms are often mild, like a cold; however, a new strain of the virus—called a novel coronaviruswas identified in December in Wuhan, China. Human infections with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continue to be reported in Wuhan—the outbreak’s epicenter—at a rapid rate. To date, there are only five confirmed cases in the United States. According to the CDC, people with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have had symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, that can range from mild to severe.

For more information about the coronavirus, including specific information on symptoms, complications, transmission, prevention and treatment, you can visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Health Recommendations

  • If you become unwell following any travel, schedule an appointment as soon as possible at the Student Health Center. Please call the Student Health Center to speak with a nurse (610-519-4070) and let them know that you were traveling.

**The Student Health Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are faculty or staff, please contact your primary health care provider.

  • If you are traveling and feeling unwell, seek medical care immediately. International SOS can assist students or employees traveling on a University program, or contact your health insurance provider about accessing medical care when abroad.
  • Use good hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Limit the spread of germs and illness. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical attention.

For any questions or concerns about the coronavirus, please contact the Student Health Center directly at 610-519-4070.

We understand that the news of emerging illnesses like the coronavirus can be unsettling. We are paying close attention to any developments in the transmission of the virus and are taking the necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community. Our prayers are with those who have been affected and who have family and friends in China.


Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, Provost

Rev. John Stack, OSA, Vice President for Student Life

Dr. Mary McGonigle, Director, Student Health Center