Sunlight on cherry blossoms on campus

University urges students, faculty and staff to notify University Health Services of all COVID-19 tests by any health care provider in any jurisdiction

March 18, 2020 4 p.m.

Contact tracing can potentially mitigate further spread of the virus on and off campus

Message to the University community from Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Robin M. Izzo and Executive Director of University Health Services, John Kolligian, Jr.

Given the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 around the world, we have taken prudent, preemptive measures to reduce the population of our campus and institute other public health best practices. This has allowed us to better implement social distancing, which is the number one thing we can all do to slow the spread of COVID-19. To the students who are able to return home, we are grateful for your sacrifice, as we will now be able to focus our care on supporting those who could not.  

As of the writing of this message, eight university staff members have reported to University Health Services that they have been tested for coronavirus; five have tested positive and are receiving care in self-isolation, one has tested negative, and we are awaiting test results for the other two as they remain in self-isolation. Not all of these staff members reside in Princeton, and though we cannot share further details because of privacy concerns, we can share that they have been working with their home jurisdictions and following public health guidelines. We are also aware of three students who have been tested by UHS; one test has come back negative and we are awaiting results on the other two. Of the two awaiting test results, one is currently self-isolating on campus at a UHS designated site and one is self-isolating at home. All three have followed appropriate heath protocols, including self-isolation. 

We have been making extraordinary efforts to prevent the spread of the virus on campus, including contacting those who have come in close contact with these individuals so they can take the appropriate steps. Princeton University students, staff, and faculty live across a number of jurisdictions, and it is important for us to know if you have been tested regardless of where you are currently residing. Knowing who from our University community has received a test is crucial. 

As we enter the next phase of our response, we need your help.

We are asking each of you – students, faculty, and staff wherever you may be – to notify University Health Services immediately if you are tested for coronavirus by any health care provider in any jurisdiction. This includes students who recently left campus and have returned home. This process will allow UHS to conduct additional contact tracing and determine if there was any potential exposure to other members of our community so that they can take appropriate next steps to mitigate further spread of the virus.  

We will continue to regularly update the community on the impacts of coronavirus at Princeton and how University Health Services is conducting contact tracing at the University COVID-19 website. We believe this is the best way to keep the University community apprised of our efforts to track and slow the virus.

The impacts being felt on this campus reflect trends we are seeing across the country. We thank you for the further steps you can take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As President Eisgruber wrote in his letter on Monday, “Every member of the larger Princeton family, whether on campus or elsewhere, needs to take the steps essential to help slow the spread of this pandemic.”

It is in this spirit that we ask those of you who are tested for coronavirus by any health care provider in any jurisdiction to take the essential step  of contacting University Health Services immediately at communityhealth@princeton.edu.

Sincerely,

Robin M. Izzo, M.S.

Executive Director, Environmental Health and Safety

John Kolligian, Jr., Ph.D., MBA

Executive Director, University Health Services