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UAlbany Experts Address Coronavirus Concerns During Campus Town Hall

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 5, 2020) – Hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered in the Campus Center Ballroom yesterday for an interactive town hall discussion on the current state of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The Emerging Global Epidemic of Novel Coronavirus: What Do We Think? What Do We Know?” was hosted in partnership among Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Kim, and the deans of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity; the School of Public Health; and the School of Education.

This discussion provided the campus community an overview of the latest coronavirus developments at the global, national, state, and campus levels. The event featured a panel review with UAlbany administrators, faculty experts and county health officials on the status of the virus outbreak, and details about action plans for contingencies, as well as an opportunity for audience members to ask questions.

School of Public Health Dean David Holtgrave addresses hundreds of campus community members at Wednesday's town hall.
School of Public Health Dean David Holtgrave addresses hundreds of campus community members at Wednesday's town hall. (Photo by Brian Busher)

Panelists included:

  • David Holtgrave, dean and distinguished professor, School of Public Health
  • Kevin Wilcox, associate vice president, Office of Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance
  • Gilbert Valverde, interim dean and vice provost, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy
  • Kristen Swaney, interim director, Academic Support Center
  • Elizabeth Whalen, commissioner, Albany County Department of Health

"There are some things that are easy, like not shaking hands, and then more complex things like travel restrictions, tele-schooling, tele-working, canceling big events or other kinds of self-isolation," said Holtgrave, a nationally recognized public health expert who served as the town hall's moderator. "Any social distancing is hard because we are naturally social beings and nearly everything we do involves working together as groups and communities... but we have to do intensive planning now so we are ready to implement plans at a moment's notice."

UAlbany continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 with guidance from our local and state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Governor’s Office and SUNY.

From an executive perspective, President Rodríguez had tasked Provost Kim with directing preparation efforts, including organizing a task force to address the issue. The president will host a special President's Council Meeting next week to update leadership on the coronavirus issue and the University’s response to it.

In addition to the task force organized by Provost Kim, several cross-functional working groups comprising departments across the University are also meeting regularly to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.

View our FAQ page for campus-specific questions. For the most up-to-date general information regarding COVID-19, including specific travel guidance, visit the CDC website.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.