Dear Barnard Community,             

We are continually monitoring the public health situation in regard to the emerging novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Currently there have been no cases detected in the Barnard College or Columbia University communities. We are working daily with our partners at Columbia University Health systems and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). The health and well-being of all members of our community is our top priority. Below is information about transmission, symptoms, diagnosis for the virus, preventive measures, and resources to contact immediately if you have any symptoms.

Transmission: Like other coronaviruses, this new virus is most likely spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, similar to how the influenza virus and other respiratory pathogens spread.


  • Fever (>100.4F)
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • General feeling of being unwell

Diagnosis: If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms and has recently been in China or had contact with someone who has these symptoms and was in China, please follow these instructions:

Students: Please call the Primary Care Health Service at 212-854-2091 and ask to speak to a medical provider.

Staff/Faculty: Please call your health care provider to advise on seeking further medical attention.

Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly encouraged to avoid class/work and to stay at home or in your residence hall room at least until you have consulted with a health care provider.

Preventive Measures: There is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. Below are the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended preventive measures to help control the spread of respiratory pathogens:

  • 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Resources: For more detailed information about the epidemiology of the virus and the latest updates, please click on the following links:

The Centers for Disease Control

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

We will keep you updated with relevant new information as the situation develops.   


Mary Joan L. Murphy, MSN, MPH
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness

For more information, visit: Coronavirus Preparedness.