To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Kenneth S. Polonsky, Dean and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
Subject: Case of COVID-19 at the University
Date: March 17, 2020
We write to inform you that today a member of the University of Chicago community tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The individual, a student at the Booth School of Business, lives off campus and is receiving treatment.
This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a member of our campus community. Following protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University and the University of Chicago Medicine are working with local public health authorities to quickly identify and contact people who may have had close contact with the individual. We will provide guidance and advice as soon as possible to those who have had close contact with the diagnosed individual, ranging from self-monitoring for symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) to self-isolation at home for 14 days.
We understand this is a difficult time for this student. Of course it will also be concerning to those who may have been in close contact. To the extent possible we ask that you respect their privacy and make sure they have the time and space needed to make a full recovery.
For more information on COVID-19, including precautionary actions you can take, please visit the University’s website here. The University has established a call center for those with COVID-19 questions or concerns, which you can reach by dialing 773-795-5374. You may also email us at Students with questions related to their physical health should contact Student Health Services at 773-702-4156; those who need counseling care may call Student Counseling Services at 773-702-9800.
We ask that all members of our community continue to practice social distancing and monitor their health. If you develop a fever (100°F/37.8°C or higher), cough frequently, or have trouble breathing, the CDC provides this guidance, including:
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Seek medical care by calling ahead before you go to your primary caregiver’s office or an emergency room.
  • Report your symptoms as well as your recent travel history or any exposure to others who may have symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not stay in your on-campus residence or travel to your hometown without speaking to a medical professional by phone.
Please consult the CDC website for further guidance on how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We know this news adds to the concern many people feel about the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. and worldwide. As always, it is vital for our community to support each other, avoid uninformed assumptions or discrimination, and base our actions on the best information and data available. The CDC has provided resources on reducing stigma related to COVID-19. Information on COVID-19 and topics of interest to the University community are archived at Further health information is available from UChicago Medicine, CDPH, and the CDC.