Drew University cancels Forum talk, curbs sports- and foreign travel, over concerns about coronavirus

POSTPONED: Former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett's March 11, 2020, talk at the Drew Forum has been pushed to the fall, amid concerns about the coronavirus.


By Olivia Yepez

Drew University has postponed this week’s Drew Forum talk by Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, because of concerns about COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus Disease.

“Drew postponed the Valerie Jarrett Drew Forum event until the fall due to concerns regarding the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation in the US and abroad,” Drew’s associate director of news and social media, Stuart Dezenhall, said on Monday.

“There are ongoing discussions about future events on campus as we continue to monitor the situation.”

COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, though no cases have been reported in Morris County as of March 9, 2020.

In the past two weeks, the university in Madison has made several changes in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

These include barring athletes from traveling to tournaments on the east and west coasts, cancellation of all ShortTREC spring break programs going to foreign countries, and installation of additional hand sanitizing stations in dining halls.

Reusable water bottles have been banned in dining halls, as an added precaution.

Jarrett’s speech was scheduled for Wednesday, March 11. People who bought tickets through The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will be contacted for refunds, according to the university web site. Drew community members with comp tickets can discard them, and await details about the fall rescheduling, the site says.

Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is scheduled to speak at Drew on April 2, as the Thomas H. Kean Visiting Lecturer. On April 16, the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, is supposed to address the Drew Theological School.

Recent Drew Forum speakers included former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and hosts of the NPR Politics Podcast.

As students returned from spring break, Drew University Health Services emailed them on Sunday with a list of symptoms and risks of COVID-19, and advised them to call (973) 408-3414 if they exhibit any symptoms.

The email also explained what students should do if they come down with colds or the flu, which are prevalent at this time of year.

MorristownGreen.com correspondent Olivia Yepez is an honors student at Drew University (’22), where she is an editor of The Acorn.


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  1. better to have some masks to proteck u and ur family.I bought a 10 pack of 3m ones over the summer to wear while working in my attic,they were $10 shipped.Right now they are probably triple that or worse from craigslist..these days i find a website https://92mask.com/ efficient and quite good $35.9 50pcs reasonalble.

  2. Where are foreign students supposed to go now that Drew is closed? Some students from other countries cannot afford to return to their home countries and then return to Drew when it reopens. Are any arrangements being made?