International Studies & Programs


Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

What is coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. More information is available through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) dedicated webpage.

What should I do about coronavirus?

  • Stay informed
    • Continue monitoring this FAQ page for updates.
    • The CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public:
    • International SOS, MSU's medical and security assistance provider, has set up a dedicated coronavirus webpage and regularly sends travel alerts. To subscribe to alerts, log in to with MSU membership number 11BCAS798617 and select "Email subscriptions" on the left-hand side. Additionally, International SOS experts are available 24/7 to respond to travel health and safety questions: 1-215-942-8478
    • MSU has issued guidance to the campus community regarding travel to China and new entry restrictions for foreign nationals who have travel to China at any point during a preceding 14-day period.
  • Take everyday preventative actions including:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid contact with animals.
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
    • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
    • Clean your doorknobs, light switches and commonly touched areas with disinfectant wipes frequently.
  • Seek medical advice and care if you feel sick.
  • If you are traveling, be prepared for enhanced screening procedures at major airports which may cause travel delays.

Should I wear a mask to prevent coronavirus?

There are different public health perspectives in different regions of the world on the benefits of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as coronavirus, flu, and the common cold. It is common practice in Asia, for example, to wear masks in public either to avoid getting sick or to prevent others from being exposed to illness. In the U.S., public health officials have deemed masks effective only for specific circumstances, wearing a mask is not advised for general use. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend the use of face masks for the general public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It is increasingly common to observe people wearing masks in airports, crowds, or on public transportation as a common practice to avoid exposure to airborne illness. If you see someone wearing a mask in public, an assumption should not be made that this individual has coronavirus or any other illness.

What is the public health risk in the US?

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Please review the latest information available from the CDC.

At this time, the immediate health risk to the public in the US is low. 

Has the U.S. government issued any travel advisories relating to coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Warning - Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) for China. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 (Do Not Travel) Travel Advisory for China. 

Has MSU implemented any travel restrictions due to coronavirus?

In response to the outbreak and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSU is strongly encouraging all members of the campus community currently in China on university-sponsored business to return home. The outbreak is having a significant impact on travel to and from China as well as restricting services such as health care, domestic transportation and food service.

Additionally, for the next eight weeks (as of January 30, 2020), MSU is suspending all nonessential MSU-sponsored travel to mainland China. 

At present, MSU is not restricting travel to countries other than China due to coronavirus. MSU's high-risk destination policy remains in force.

Since this is a rapidly evolving situation, MSU is unable to offer travel recommendations beyond the end of March at this time. Campus experts including the University Physician and the Office of International Health and Safety are meeting regularly to monitor coronavirus. If you are planning future travel to China, we strongly recommend keeping your travel plans as flexible as possible.

Students and program directors intending to participate in education abroad programs in China should have received direct communication from the Office for Education Abroad. Please monitor your email for further updates and contact the Office for Education Abroad if you have questions in the meantime.

What are the new entry restrictions for those traveling from China to the US?

Effective, 5:00 PM ET on February 2, 2020:

  • US citizen returning to the US and who have traveled in the past 14 days to Hubei province will undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine
  • US citizens returning to the US who have been in mainland China in the past 14 days face health screening upon entry and monitored 14-day self-quarantine
  • Foreign nationals other than immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents who traveled to China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the US

For questions about your particular situation, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.

(For more see: White House Proclamation)

What communication has been sent to the university community?

Who should I contact if I have questions related to international travel?

If you are abroad on MSU-sponsored international travel and you have specific travel health questions, contact International SOS at 1-215-942-8478.

If you are considering international travel and you have a specific health question, contact the MSU Travel Clinic.

If you are considering international travel or are currently abroad and have general travel health and safety questions, contact the Office of International Health and Safety.

If you are an international student or scholar and you have questions about re-entry into the United States, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.