COVID and other public health updates

March 15, 2024

The following message was emailed to students and employees on Friday, March 15:

Dear students and colleagues,

We are writing to inform you of some important public health concerns facing our region and to encourage you to read the following guidance, especially if you are returning from spring break travel.

  • COVID guidance has changed following recent recommendations from the CDC regarding respiratory viruses, eliminating the expectation for a 5-day a isolation period and encouraging individuals to stay away from others until their symptoms have improved and they have been fever-free for 24 hours or more. See below for more information about reporting, vaccination, and supplies.

  • Measles cases are on the rise nationwide and in Europe. Faculty and staff should verify their immunity status and all should watch for symptoms and seek medical attention as needed. Read more information below about symptoms and how to check for presumptive immunity status.

  • Norovirus is spreading throughout our region. Handwashing with soap and water before meals and avoidance of sharing cups and water bottles are good measures to prevent gastrointestinal disease. See below for more information about cleaning and advice for individuals who prepare food.

  • Mpox is a communicable disease to be aware of when returning from spring break. More information is available on the UHS website. 

If you have been exposed, have symptoms, or have been diagnosed with measles, Mpox, norovirus, or any other communicable disease, it is important to take appropriate action: 

  • Students should contact University Health Services at 609-258-3141. 

  • Employees should seek medical attention from their primary care providers. If diagnosed or suspected to have a communicable disease that may impact the campus community, such as measles, employees should also notify their supervisors and inform University Health Services at 609-258-5035.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters. By staying informed and taking proactive steps, we can work together towards a healthier campus community.


Irini Daskalaki, M.D., Associate Director, Global and Community Health

Robin Izzo, Assistant Vice President, Environmental Health & Safety

Melissa Marks, M.D., Director, Medical Services



COVID Updates

As you are probably aware, the CDC and NJDOH have relaxed the guidance for a minimum of 5-days of isolation after a positive COVID test. Instead, those with respiratory symptoms should adhere to common sense guidelines for all respiratory viruses, including staying up-to-date with vaccination, avoiding others when sick with fever and/or significant respiratory symptoms, and practicing good hygiene (frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes).

Given this updated public health guidance, students, faculty, and staff are no longer asked to isolate for at least 5 days after testing positive for COVID. Instead, they should follow the CDC Respiratory Virus Guidance and stay away from others until their symptoms have improved and they have been fever-free for 24 hours. 

The University is no longer expecting students to submit their COVID tests to University Health Services’ Global and Community Health. 

Vaccination is an important measure to decrease the chance of getting sick and having complications from respiratory viruses. Vaccines currently available for respiratory viruses include those protecting from influenza, COVID, and RSV with specific seasonal and age recommendations. CDC also offers guidance related to COVID boosters for older individuals.

KN95 masks and COVID-19 rapid antigen tests continue to be available to students.


Measles Preparedness

There has been a concerning uptick in measles cases throughout the US in 2024 and several outbreaks of this disease around the world, including in European countries.  After spring break travel, there is an increased risk one or more cases of measles will emerge on campus and we are writing to encourage increased awareness. The incubation period, i.e. the time from being exposed to someone who has measles to the time symptoms may develop, ranges from 7-21 days.

Information about measles symptoms can be found at Measles Signs and Symptoms | CDC. 

It is advised that people who have symptoms compatible with measles call their healthcare providers’ office and avoid contact with others until a measles diagnosis is ruled-out. 

According to the CDC, people have presumptive immunity to measles if they fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Written documentation of two doses of measles-containing vaccine. 

  • Laboratory evidence of immunity, i.e. a blood test that shows an adequate titer of IgG antibodies to measles.

  • Laboratory confirmation of previous measles illness.

  • Born before 1957.

Our student population has 99% presumptive immunity to measles.

Employees who do not have evidence of any of the above immunity criteria are encouraged to reach out to their primary care providers to either test for measles immunity with a blood test, or to receive one or two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).


Norovirus and Gastrointestinal illness

Gastrointestinal illnesses caused by norovirus are on the rise in the northeastern United States. With spring break travel, cases are likely to emerge on campus.

Handwashing with soap and water before meals and avoidance of sharing cups and water bottles are good measures to prevent gastrointestinal disease. Those who prepare meals for others need to be particularly vigilant for symptoms like vomiting and/or diarrhea and should refrain from meal preparation if they are sick with these symptoms.

For students who present with symptoms and share a bathroom with others, special cleaning supplies can be requested by emailing EHS staff at [email protected].