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COVID-19: Coronavirus FAQs for Parents

Campus updates

(Updated March 23)

Are there cases of COVID-19 at Princeton?

Princeton's University Health Services will provide regular updates on cases that they are aware of on the main page of this website (see Latest Updates section). 

Students, faculty and staff to notify University Health Services of all COVID-19 tests by any health care provider in any jurisdiction. Students, faculty and staff – both on and off campus – must immediately notify UHS by emailing if they are tested for coronavirus by any health care provider in any jurisdiction. This notification will allow UHS to conduct additional contact tracing and determine if there was any potential exposure to other members of the campus community so that they can take appropriate next steps to mitigate further spread of the virus.  

Due to limitations in testing and other factors, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 likely understates its prevalence in the University community. For that reason, it is especially important for everyone to practice social distancing and follow other public health guidance.  Faculty, staff and students are expected to notify University Health Services if they are being tested by emailing, and UHS will get in touch directly with that person’s close contacts.

What about people who were in close contact of the cases? 

The University works with local health authorities to identify and contact those who may have been in direct close contact. These individuals will go under self-quarantine as a precaution. These individuals will be notified by Occupational Health about the duration of the self-quarantine they need to observe. If these individuals develop symptoms they need to seek care and testing through their primary care providers and notify the University that they are being tested by emailing . 

What is the status of cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey? 

For updated state information, visit the New Jersey Department of Health's website.

What is the latest information for parents of undergraduates? 

Please see the University message posted on the Princeton Parents Facebook page and emailed to undergraduates parents on March 12 from Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.  


Will classes be canceled?

To facilitate social distancing, all lectures, seminars and precepts will move to virtual instruction beginning Monday, March 23 and remain virtual through the end of Spring 2020, including exams.   Academic classes and mid-term exams will continue the week of March 9 as planned, following social distancing protocols.

Faculty have received guidance and recommendations on online delivery methods for their courses. The McGraw Center will provide support to faculty, as detailed on its website, including instructional strategies, available tools and recommended best practices. 

Dean of the College Jill Dolan sent an email to undergraduates on March 19 with information about learning continuity, grading and other academic resources for virtual instruction for the remainder of spring 2020 semester. 

Should undergraduates return to campus for classes after spring break? 

As outlined in the March 11 email to undergraduate students, all undergraduates who are able to must return home and stay home for the rest of the semester. Unless you meet one of the criteria listed below, you must leave campus and stay home for the rest of the semester. 

You are permitted to remain living on campus until the semester ends only if you meet one or more of these criteria. You are:

  • A senior who must conduct lab or other Princeton-based research on campus that’s required for your senior thesis;
  • A student who faces housing insecurity (homelessness or a precarious living situation);
  • A student who faces financial insecurity;
  • A student previously certified “independent for the purposes of financial aid”;
  • An athlete still in competition and required to be on campus;
  • Currently residing in “family housing.”
  • An international student may fall into any of the categories above.  Other criteria for international students include those: 
    • Who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions;
    • Whose home is in a country currently designed at a Warning Levels 2 & 3 and USDOS Levels 3 & 4 for COVID-19;
    • Whose home is in an area with extremely limited internet connectivity.

If you meet one of these criteria, you must register to stay on campus to ensure that you have the necessary support and accommodations during this period. Please use the form on this website.  If you are not registered, your prox access will be deactivated by March 19.  We’re taking these steps so that we have a clear picture of who remains on campus.

Undergraduates Leaving Campus

What are the guidelines for undergraduates moving out of campus for the semester?

Information about undergraduates leaving campus by March 19 is available in the email from Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun sent to students on March 11.

My undergraduate is moving out of campus for the semester. What financial refunds and credits will the University provide?

Dean of the College Jill Dolan's memo to parents on March 14 outlines details on move-out allowances and refunds and credits for students leaving campus for the spring 2020 semester. 


Travel guidelines

Will University-sponsored travel be canceled because of coronavirus?

All University-sponsored international travel is prohibited. Non-essential University-sponsored domestic travel should be postponed or canceled. These restrictions will not apply to University-sponsored travel required to return to campus by community members who are currently studying or working remotely. 

As of 5 p.m. EDT March 14, the University asked all students studying abroad to return to their permanent residence by March 23, 2020. This is an expansion of the University’s previous suspension of study abroad programs in Europe, China and other countries following travel restrictions issued by the federal government and the declaration of a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. The University continues to work with students on arrangements to return to their permanent residences and to help defray travel costs, as well as to discuss future academic options and accommodations. Any questions should be directed to the Office of International Programs or Study Abroad Program. 

Should my student cancel personal travel plans because of coronavirus?

All personal international travel is strongly discouraged.

What should my student do if returning after international travel?

All travelers returning from impacted countries (CDC Warning Level 3 and Warning Level 2 countries as well as USDOS Level 4 and Level 3 countries) must fill out this confidential form before their return. This is both for those on University-sponsored and personal travel.

The CDC currently requires anyone coming from CDC Warning Level 3 countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.

At this time, there are no federal restrictions on travelers returning from other locations. However, the University may ask that students traveling from other locations self-quarantine based on their confidential risk assessment form.

If you develop any symptoms, you should stay away from work or class and reach out to their healthcare provider.

Princeton is monitoring the international situation and will update protocols as needed. If you have questions about incoming travelers, please contact

How to reduce risk

What can my student do to reduce the risk of getting coronavirus?

The best things you can do are the same as those for preventing flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash and disinfect your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have not already been immunized against the flu, contact University Health Services to schedule your free flu shot.

Is a surgical mask/facemask helpful in preventing transmission of coronavirus?

From the CDC: “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.” University Health Services will not provide masks except for patient treatment at McCosh Health Center.

Quarantine guidelines

I’ve been hearing the terms quarantine and isolation a lot. What is the difference?

While both isolation and quarantine refer to methods of preventing the spread of illness, they do not mean the same thing.

  • Isolation refers to separating people who are sick from those who are not sick.
  • Quarantine refers to separating people who are, or may have been, exposed to a pathogen, but are not showing signs of illness. Quarantine is used to make sure individuals are not contagious by minimizing contact with people who were not exposed during an illness’ incubation period — the time it takes for symptoms to emerge.

Individuals will be directed to follow these guidelines for monitoring your health and limiting contact with others during self-quarantine.

If my student requires self-quarantine or self-isolation, where will they be housed?

Students on campus will be advised to go home if they can travel safely. Otherwise, we will move them to a safe place for quarantine or isolation on or near campus and provide support.


Health guidance

What should students do if they have symptoms of coronavirus?

For students who remain on campus: If you are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call McCosh Health Center (609-258-3141). They will provide advice on what to do next.

For students who are no longer on campus: Contact your personal health care provider. If you are tested for coronavirus, you must immediately notify University Health Services by emailing . This notification will allow UHS to conduct additional contact tracing and determine if there was any potential exposure to other members of the campus community so that they can take appropriate next steps to mitigate further spread of the virus.  

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