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March 02, 2020

A Message from Lehman College President Daniel Lemons

Dear member of the Lehman Community,

These are jittery times with worries about COVID-19 abounding and a stock market first falling last week and then soaring like a rocket today. As with so much that spins around the 24-hour news cycle, we often don’t really know what is real and what is hype. So, in this brief communication, here is what I can tell you about COVID-19 as of 5pm on Monday, March 2, 2020. There has been one positively identified COVID-19 infection in New York City, and the infected woman was previously traveling in a high- infection area, has respiratory symptoms, but thankfully is not in serious condition. Despite the frequent talk about a pandemic, we are not in the middle of one, and hopefully we won’t be. You can follow the COVID-19 situation on the CDC website as well the NY Department of Health and the NYC Dept. of Health. These sites each have a number of links to more information.

Even though the risk in New York remains low now, we are not waiting for events to put us into motion. A large representative group met on campus this afternoon to discuss all the facets of life at Lehman College that could be impacted if COVID-19 spreads in New York City. In the coming days you will receive communications about the steps we will be taking as a result of our discussions. Some of those actions will take place this week, and there will likely be more in the coming week or two. We will be as prepared as possible, should we face a wider infection. I’ve been asked whether Lehman College might close, and my response is that we are working to be prepared for a number of possible contingencies, including that, but it is far too early to assume that will happen.

You should be taking some steps now, and they would make sense anyway, given that we are still in the middle of flu season. At the risk of seeming unwelcoming, greet others with an elbow bump instead of a handshake. Use respiratory etiquette and cover your coughs and sneezes with a sleeve. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. And if you develop any worrying symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. And don’t rush out and buy a facemask unless you are in a high-risk setting, like caring for an ill family member. Leave the masks for healthcare workers and others who may really need them.

We will communicate with you frequently in the coming weeks until the COVID-19 threat has passed. As always, we want you to have the key information as we have it, and to communicate what we know, not what some of us may fear.

For up-to-the-minute information, follow me @LehmanPresident on Twitter.

Daniel Lemons

Previous messages from President Lemons can be found here.