Coronavirus Update -- March 20

To all members of the Cooper Union Community: 

We hope you are all doing well. As you may already be aware, there is now widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in New York City and around the globe.

Thankfully, as of now, there is only one member of the Cooper community (faculty, students, or staff) who is known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Everyone known to have come into contact with this individual has been contacted. We are happy to reiterate this week’s earlier campus notice that this individual only experienced symptoms for a few days and is now doing much better.

It is important to realize that COVID-19 is actively circulating in the community. Furthermore, the New York City Department of Health is no longer conducting contact tracing, is limiting testing for more serious cases and those needing hospitalization, and is focused on efforts to reduce community transmission. Any new cases that are revealed to us will be reported on our website, and we will notify all individuals who are known to have been in contact with the affected person. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 (even if you were not tested in NYC), particularly if you have been on campus in the past 14 days, we strongly encourage you to notify us by sending an email to

Everyone must assume they have been exposed and act accordingly. Please take these crucial measures to keep the virus from spreading further: 

  • Stay home if you are sick. 
  • If you are not feeling sick, stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. 
  • Practice essential prevention hygiene: frequent handwashing, coughing/sneezing into your elbow; sanitizing high-touch surfaces; avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands; waving/elbow bumping instead of shaking hands; do not share food or drink. 
  • Maintain at least 6 feet from others, when possible. 
  • Older adults or those who have other serious chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system, are especially at risk for severe illness and must stay home as much as possible to avoid exposure. 

If you have symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat): 

Stay home. 

If your symptoms are mild, you do not need to seek medical care.

If you are a member of a higher risk group or your symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing, contact your primary care provider (PCP) or go to the emergency room (many request that you call first).  

  • 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 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 DoctorsCity MD, and Northwell Health Urgent Care.
  • Faculty and Staff:  Please reach out to your primary care provider (PCP).  If as an employee, you participate in The Cooper Union’s healthcare plan, please know that testing for COVID-19, and any physician/emergency care visits for the purpose of testing for COVID-19 are 100% covered under the plan.  There are no copays, co-insurance or deductible costs associated with this testing.  If you feel that you need to be tested, please contact your healthcare provider.  Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.  If you have questions about your medical coverage, please contact Mary Ann Nissen at  or Christine Rodrigue at

If your symptoms do not go away after 3 or 4 days, contact your PCP. 

In about 80% of cases, symptoms resolve by themselves with supportive care (including rest, fluids, and taking fever reducing medications such as Tylenol). Stay at home for at least 7 days after your symptoms first start, and at least three days after you no longer have a fever (without the need to use fever-reducing medications). 

If you were in contact with someone who is a confirmed case/is waiting for confirmation/recently traveled from a CDC Level 3 area

Self-monitor for COVID-19-like illness (see symptoms above) for 14 days from the date of last contact with the ill person. If you are concerned, please call Cooper Union’s COVID-19 hotline at 212-353-4040 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or your primary care provider. Please use this fact sheet to understand your level of exposure and the appropriate action.

We understand that this new guidance will prompt numerous questions and concerns. We ask you to visit ourFAQ which addresses a majority of concerns we have heard.

If you are an international student, please reach out to with questions and refer back to our international student FAQ’s.

The best way to take care of ourselves and our community is to stay home and practice social distancing

As previously mentioned, 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.  For the latest information (as well as an archive of past notices) please go to here.

For more information, please consult the following resources:

New York City Health Department Resources 

New York City Resources 

Centers for Disease Control Resources  

As we have stated before, we also hope we can be sensitive to each other’s burdens in this situation and make accommodations when we can. And we count on every member of our community to make sure that the discrimination, shunning, and bullying that sometimes accompany an outbreak never occur at Cooper Union.  In this uncertain moment, we have every confidence in our community’s ability to pull together with kindness, care, and concern for the common good.

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.