Campus Communications

Coronavirus Message from the President February 29, 2020




I am writing to provide an update on the coronavirus as it relates to our campus community.  Last evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated its Italy advisory designation to Level 3, meaning “avoid non-essential travel.”  In light of this upgraded warning, and on the recommendation of my senior leadership team, Marist has made the difficult decision to suspend all operations at our Florence campus for the spring 2020 semester and encourage the students there to return to the US.  This decision has numerous immediate consequences for the 163 students studying in Italy this semester, including their transportation back home, as well as their academic progress. 

I know you will join me in extending your support to those students whose experiences abroad have been disrupted by this unprecedented global public health event.  Rest assured that once these students return to the US, we will contact each of them individually to plan their coursework for the rest of the spring semester, either online or through directed study.  We are committed to ensuring that all students remain on track for their anticipated graduation timelines.  We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we help our students through this unique set of challenges.

In keeping with Marist’s previously-stated policy, because Italy has been designated Level 3 by the CDC, returning students will not be permitted to visit any Marist location until after a self-quarantine of 14 days in which they show no signs of illness.  Students currently living in residence halls and in the local community are being directed not to host returning Florence students on campus until after this 14-day period.  As spring break draws closer, we are also advising students, faculty, and staff against any international trips, as both the epidemic and its impacts on travel across the world continue to evolve.

According to the CDC, the best preventative guidelines are to avoid contact with sick people; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and clean your hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.  Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.  It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

Please know that we are also taking additional steps to protect the Marist campus, including ensuring that each building has hand sanitizer stations in the lobby, distributing Sani-Hands wipes in offices across the College, and providing our housekeeping staff with the same peroxide-based cleaner that hospitals use to disinfect their facilities.  We are also assembling an emergency preparedness team made up of senior officials from around the College and medical doctors.

As a reminder, Marist has created a dedicated webpage to serve as a central point of information about the coronavirus, which includes College policies and other related communications.  It will be updated regularly as circumstances warrant, and you may access it at  As this situation changes on campus or in other locations around the world, I’ll continue to keep the Marist community informed.

Dennis J. Murray
Marist College
Phone: (845) 575-3600
Fax: (845) 575-3337

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