At Coronavirus Briefing, Governor Cuomo Announces SUNY and CUNY Study Abroad Programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran, South Korea Suspended Effective Immediately in Response to Novel Coronavirus Concerns

March 4, 2020

From the office of Governor Cuomo

SUNY and CUNY Arranging Immediate Return Travel for Approximately 300 Students

Individuals Returning from Impacted Countries Will Fly into New York Stewart International Airport and Urge Quarantine at Designated Dormitories

Campus-Sponsored Travel Outside the U.S. for both SUNY and CUNY Canceled for Spring Semester to Impacted Countries

During a briefing on the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State University of New York's and the City University of New York's study abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea have been suspended effective immediately in response to concerns over novel coronavirus - or COVID-19. The decision was made based on recommendations from the New York State Department of Health. SUNY and CUNY are making arrangements to bring back all non-essential students, faculty and staff currently studying or working in those countries and begin 14-day quarantine. All five countries have either been issued a Level 2 or Level 3 travel notice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"As we continue to see a rise in cases of novel coronavirus around the world, we are taking every precaution necessary and mobilizing our public health system to protect New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "Out of an abundance of caution, SUNY and CUNY study abroad programs in the highest impacted countries will be suspended effective immediately and all students and staff will return to New York and begin a 14-day quarantine. It's important that facts outweigh fear, and the reality is we are getting the testing done, getting the information out and deploying healthcare resources to treat people who need it, so I am reminding New Yorkers that there is no reason for undue anxiety and the general risk remains low in New York."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said, "With close coordination with the New York Department of Health and the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff overseas in mind, we are suspending study abroad programs in impacted countries and have directed our SUNY family to return home. We will provide students with financial and academic resources and work to minimize any disruption today's action may cause, while we work aggressively with all our partners at the local, state and federal level to protect our entire campus communities." 

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "We appreciate Governor Cuomo's leadership and coordination in helping us to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our students who are currently enrolled in study abroad programs in countries that have been most severely impacted by this emerging public health threat. Out of an abundance of caution, we urge our students to accept this invitation to return now, to avoid later complications should circumstances change. We are committed to safeguarding CUNY's campuses and students, and to ensuring that all students may fulfill their course requirements for the semester without additional financial or academic obstacles."

For SUNY and CUNY students in impacted countries who have yet to return to the U.S., SUNY is currently arranging chartered flights from South Korea, Italy and Japan to New York Stewart International Airport in the coming days. Upon arrival and in accordance with DOH guidelines, local and state health representatives will screen passengers and SUNY will arrange transportation to designated SUNY campus dormitories to begin 14-day quarantines. SUNY and CUNY will then work closely with campuses, the DOH, and local health departments to provide medical monitoring, remote course study, and various resources to help individuals during the quarantine period.   

Out of an abundance of caution, SUNY and CUNY have cancelled campus-sponsored travel outside of the United States to impacted countries for the spring semester. SUNY and CUNY will continue to review CDC guidance and work closely with DOH to make additional determinations on continuing or cancelling upcoming travel at all other campus sponsored international locations.   

About The City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation's largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation's first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City's five boroughs, serving 500,000 students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY's mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University's graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city's economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city's workforce in every sector. CUNY's graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur "Genius" Grants. The University's historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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