Update on the COVID-19 Virus: March 2, 2020

The below message was sent to the Cooper Community on Monday, March 2, 2020.

As you may know, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) was reported in New York City within the last 24 hours.  New York Governor Cuomo conducted a briefing earlier today regarding the state’s ability to actively mobilize around this development.  The virus outbreak began in China (including Hong Kong), which is where monitoring of the virus was initially focused.  Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea have recently been added as affected geographic areas with widespread or sustained community transmission. There are also individually reported cases in other areas of the United States.

For The Cooper Union, the health and well-being of our faculty, students and staff remain a top priority, and we continue to actively monitor the outbreak of COVID-19.  We are also following  guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and our local NYC health department as they pertain to these developments and to the international travel of members of our community. 

As of now, The Cooper Union has made no changes to classes, activities, operations, and events on our campus. Our Safety Committee has approved a pandemic flu response plan, which you can review here http://cooper.edu/about/pandemic-flu-response-plan, and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

The Cooper Union facilities team has elevated its cleaning protocol on-campus adding a recently FDA approved disinfection solution that will be used to clean all the Cooper Union buildings and offices.

In addition, with spring break for The Cooper Union scheduled to begin on Saturday March 14, we are continuing to monitor for updated travel advisories and related news.  In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of State and the CDC have raised travel advisory levels and issued alerts for several countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran.  If you are considering international travel, The Cooper Union encourages you to monitor travel advisories.  Depending on your destination, you may have to reach difficult decisions to change or even cancel plans to ensure your wellbeing and timely return.  In many countries, entry and exit control measures could change, or quarantines could be implemented, with little notice. These actions could severely impact your plans and/or delay your return home.

One of the best things we can do collectively is remain calm and follow the practical tips below.  As a reminder, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms may be similar to the flu or the common cold. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications, especially in infants, older individuals, and those with underlying health conditions. Please remember the steps we take every day to help prevent any respiratory illness: 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissues, not your bare hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick. 

If you have traveled recently or have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and are experiencing the above symptoms, please seek medical attention right away. Before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and let them know of your recent travel and symptoms. Wear a mask if you need to leave your home when you are sick. If you have been seen by a medical provider, stay home, avoid contact with others until you are well, and please notify your academic dean and/or supervisor.

  • Students: Through Cooper Care, you have 24/7 online access to medical professionals who can assess and diagnose your concerns, prescribe medication/treatment, and/or refer you to in-person medical visits, as necessary.   Cooper Care is a telehealth service that is accessible via an app on your mobile device or computer. To access Cooper Care, you must be registered at www.cooper.care. There is no cost for this service to Cooper students, and you do not need to use health insurance for this. You can also visit local Urgent Care Centers, including: Mount Sinai Doctors, City MD, and Northwell Health Urgent Care.
  • Faculty and Staff:  Please reach out to your primary care provider.

For more information, please consult the following resources:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Summary

World Health Organization (WHO) Information about Coronavirus

NYC Department of Health Information About Coronavirus

We know this is a particularly challenging time and many of you are having concerns for friends and family in impacted areas.  Please know that The Cooper Union is here to support you. Wishing all the best for our community,

Thomas Tresselt, Director of Campus Safety and Security
Ruben Savizky, Ph.D., Campus-Wide Faculty Safety Coordinator

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.