You are here: American University Student Affairs March 20 COVID-19 Update

American University

March 20, 2020

Dear AU Community,

I am writing to tell you about four additional confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among AU community members. Three confirmed cases are students, and one is a member of our alumni community who attended a small AU-sponsored off-campus event, bringing the total number of confirmed cases across the entire community to five. All are receiving medical care and support. We are thinking of these fellow Eagles and wishing them a speedy recovery.

Two of the students received tests through the Student Health Center. Both live off campus and both recently returned from Spain. They had very limited presence on campus. The third student, currently residing outside of the Washington, DC area, informed us of the confirmed diagnosis, which was managed by the student’s personal health care provider in their home community. This student traveled within the United States during spring break and had not returned to campus. All three students are self-isolating in their respective personal homes, all of which are off campus and outside of the Washington, DC region, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The member of our alumni community attended an event in early March, informed the university of the confirmed test, and is self-isolating under the care of their personal health care provider.

Our team is in contact with each student and has coordinated with the DC Department of Health for the two students whose tests were conducted locally. The personal health care provider who administered the test for the third student is coordinating with the health department in that community. The health departments manage the follow-up communications (contact tracing) with anyone who may have had close contact with the individuals who now have confirmed cases.

Importantly, we are respecting the privacy and medical confidentiality of our community members who have tested positive for COVID-19. While it is understandable to question if you have come into contact with someone who has a confirmed case, there are two important things to remember. First, the public health departments will determine who needs to be contacted based on their investigation of each case. Second, with ongoing community spread of COVID-19 around the region, country, and world, the most important thing for all of us to do is practice good health hygiene and social distancing and follow the guidance from U.S. and local health authorities. If you have been in high-risk countries or areas of the U.S., be vigilant about following CDC guidance for monitoring your health and self-isolating. Please keep these things in mind and help support both the individuals who have COVID-19 and our entire community.

We are also continuing to keep our community safe through enhanced cleaning of public areas and surfaces, precautions for our staff in the Health Center who are supporting students and our teams who are helping students complete the move-out process from the residence halls, moving our faculty and staff to expanded telework, and our overall actions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In order to keep our community informed of future confirmed cases of COVID-19, we have created a dedicated page within the COVID-19 Resources site. We will update the page as we receive information about new known, confirmed cases among the AU community. This will be the best and most current source of information about confirmed COVID-19 cases and we encourage you to regularly check for updates.

We know the COVID-19 situation continues to become more complex and challenging, and we are committed to providing as much information as we can. Please visit the COVID-19 Resources page and FAQs, which are regularly updated, for the latest information. We are monitoring the situation and will provide additional updates.

Please continue to follow the guidance for your health and safety. We know this is difficult, but if we all take the appropriate steps and precautions, we can help limit the impact of this virus. Thank you for your ongoing support.


Dr. David Reitman
Medical Director
Student Health Center