March 1, 2020

Dear Siena Community,

The College has brought together a team to review its pandemic protocols as part of our emergency operations planning efforts for the coronavirus and other virus-borne illnesses. The health and safety of our students is our utmost priority.

We have been in frequent contact with Siena students currently studying abroad in Italy and elsewhere. As a result of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raising the travel health notice for Italy on February 28 to a Warning Level 3 (“Avoid Nonessential Travel”), we have decided to cancel the program in Italy and call those students home. They will be able to complete the academic component of their studies remotely.

In preparation for spring break travel, we strongly advise that members of the Siena community not travel to any country the CDC lists at a Warning Level 3 (currently Italy, South Korea, China or Iran). If any member of our community needs to travel to one of these countries, they must contact the office of Student Life or Public Safety for direction and guidance. Siena has no service trips planned to any areas currently at a Warning Level 3.

Individuals returning from a Warning Level 3 country will likely be subject to U.S. government health screening protocols upon arrival at major international airports in the United States. Those returning from countries impacted by the coronavirus will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days and stay off campus. In addition, prior to returning to campus, individuals will need to provide clearance from a physician to Siena Health Services that they are symptom free.

Siena’s health protocols, of course, cover illnesses we encounter each year. We want to remind everyone of our student Medical Leave policy, which occurs when a student will be absent for three or more days. If a student is placed on mandatory Medical Leave by Health Services, he or she may not attend any classes or return to campus housing during the term of that leave. When a student is placed on Medical Leave, Health Services will notify the Dean of Students who will notify the student’s instructors, Residence Director and Academic Affairs. It is the student’s responsibility to contact faculty to make up work that was missed while on leave.

Given the prevalence of Influenza-B and the need to prevent students who are ill from interacting in large groups, I strongly encourage students and faculty to work together to develop alternative plans to complete missed work. Similarly, faculty, staff and administrators should consult with Human Resources regarding our sick leave policy and not come to work if they are experiencing the flu or flu-like symptoms.

Because the situation regarding the coronavirus and other illnesses is evolving daily, before you leave campus for spring break, we ask that you take any books, medications or other material you may need in case we need to develop alternative plans for class delivery.

We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updated information as it becomes available. 


Margaret E. Madden, Ph.D.

Interim President | Siena College