Information on Coronavirus

Check here for the latest updates and other important information about the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Dear JTS Community:

We have all been following the events surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 with concern, particularly as two recent cases have been reported in the New York City area. I want to take this opportunity to inform you of what JTS has done and is doing in the face of this public health challenge and to remind you of what you can do to keep yourself and others around you healthy.

JTS has long had plans in place regarding actions to be taken in response to possible pandemics and similar situations. We have made modifications to our plan to specifically address the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus and incorporated recommendations from Columbia and New York health authorities. The responsibility for implementation falls to the JTS Emergency Response Team (ERT), which includes representatives from all major departments and schools. Parts of our plan have already been implemented and at a meeting yesterday of the ERT, we discussed measures that may need to be taken as circumstances evolve.

Virtually every department at JTS is working together to minimize the threat of the Coronavirus and to have contingency plans in place in the event that a member of our community is diagnosed with the disease. Some of the actions have already been taken and are ongoing including: (1) extra cleaning and sanitizing of classrooms, public areas, and the residence halls; (2) wider distribution of hand sanitizers and other sanitizing supplies; and (3) reminders in public areas and the residence halls about handwashing and other important hygienic practices. In addition, we are making the necessary arrangements for institutional continuity (including continued academic classes and employees working from home) if JTS must temporarily close and for supporting students who may become ill with the virus, including quarantine protocols.

Each of us has a critical role to play in reducing the chances that the Coronavirus will affect you and our community. Please heed these important recommendations of the health authorities:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice).
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or into a tissue and then immediately discard the tissue and wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are experiencing symptoms.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you do no feel well or have any symptoms, seek medical care and do not come to class or to work.

As a reminder, in order to provide individualized assistance, instructions, and recommendations, JTS and Columbia Health request that all JTS students, faculty, and staff currently in, have returned from, or transited through China (including Hong Kong), Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea in the past 14 days, or have had direct close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, fill out this secure and confidential registration form.

We will keep you informed on a regular basis as we learn more about the progress of the virus and what additional steps we can take to protect ourselves from it. We will also be posting information on the JTS website.  

The health and safety of every member of our community is our highest priority. We have mobilized our resources to combat this public health threat, but it is up to each of us to do our part to protect ourselves and one another.

Sincerely yours,

Marc Gary
Executive Vice Chancellor and COO