A message from President John Thrasher: Coronavirus Update

Dear FSU Family,

Florida State University continues to closely monitor advisories and updates from the Centers for Disease Control concerning the COVID-19 coronavirus that has spread to many countries.

The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our paramount concern. As we head into spring break and many people are on the move, I want to update you on actions the university is taking to protect our campus community.

FSU has suspended travel to China and South Korea, where the warning level has been set by the CDC at Level 3. Travelers are not authorized to travel to these nations until further notice.

Heightened levels of alert also exist for Japan, Iran and Italy, which currently are at Level 2. We have suspended university related faculty and staff travel to those countries, as well, without approval of your division’s vice president. If you do visit any countries with the above warning levels – or any affected area — we strongly encourage you to self-isolate for a quarantine period of 14 days when you return.

In an abundance of caution, FSU canceled classes at its Florence Study Center for the week. We have not closed our residences in Florence in case some students want to remain in place during that program’s spring break. We are continuing to monitor the situation in Italy, and around the globe. Information regarding all summer programs will be updated by the end of March.

We also have identified and contacted FSU students in the affected countries who are traveling as exchange students, as well as faculty or staff who were traveling on FSU business, to assist them. Please contact the university as soon as possible if you require assistance and have not yet been contacted.

No cases of the virus have been reported at FSU or confirmed in the state of Florida, and the risk is considered low, but the university is being proactive. FSU is coordinating with the Leon County Health Department and the Florida Department of Health to review protocols in preparation for the possibility of a case here.

For now, I encourage you to do your part to protect yourself and others. There is no vaccine at this time to prevent the virus and no specific treatment that is recommended. The CDC advises that the best thing to do is avoid being exposed and stay healthy by taking everyday actions against respiratory illness such as washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and getting a flu shot. Additional health information is provided on the FSU Alert page. (alerts.fsu.edu)

Most importantly, if you have a respiratory illness or fever, please stay home. We will work with the deans and faculty to accommodate students who are ill, and we urge sick faculty and staff to work with your dean, department head or supervisor to coordinate coverage of your responsibilities.

For faculty and staff matters related to this issue, please contact Tracey Pearson (staff) at 850-644-3694 or Rebecca Peterson (faculty) at 850-645-2202, both in the Office of Human Resources.

Students at our Florida campuses can contact the University Health Services (UHS) Administrative Office at 850-645-0620.

If you are an FSU student currently enrolled in one of our study abroad programs, please contact the Office of International Programs with any questions or concerns.

As the spread of the coronavirus continues to develop, more countries are likely to be added to the list of those to avoid. Please consult the FSU Alert website for regular updates in the coming days and keep yourself informed about this important health issue. There are multiple links provided on the site with helpful information, or visit:  www.cdc.gov.


John Thrasher