(WTNH) — Universities across the state with students currently or set to be studying abroad in Italy and other countries seeing coronavirus outbreaks are pulling their students home.
The University of Connecticut announced Monday that they are requiring a 14-day self-quarantine period for all travelers from CDC Level 3 countries, including Italy and South Korea, before they return to any UConn campus.
News 8 has the full list of high education institutions in the state bringing their students home and the details of return policies.
Trinity College in Hartford is now among colleges and universities bringing students home from areas impacted by the coronavirus. The college announced Sunday it is suspending its program in Rome and is urging all students there to return home.
Trinity College issued a letter to students, faculty, and staff regarding their reasoning for bringing their students home and the next steps for students and families.
Trinity students returning from those Level 3 areas may NOT return to campus, as the college cannot ensure on our campus any self-isolation monitoring or quarantine of individuals that may be necessary.
The college will work closely with them to attend to their academic needs. The program in Rome is hosting 39 students this semester, including 18 who are from visiting institutions. S
tudents and families from the program have been informed of the suspension of the program and urged to make plans to travel home as soon as possible. The college is in communication with the visiting institutions and with our global health and safety partner, International SOS, through this transition.– Trinity College
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
UConn also made the decision Saturday to cancel official travel to Italy and their 88 students studying abroad in Italy are required to return to the U.S. as soon as possible, as well as their two students in South Korea.
Consistent with the CDC’s recommendations, UConn is also requiring a 14-day self-quarantine period for all travelers from CDC Level 3 countries, including Italy and South Korea, before they return to any UConn campus.
- 300 students participating in overseas programs
- Programs in 29 nations, including “a handful in South Korea” – students in South Korea are returning to UConn
- No students in China for academic programs at this time
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as we assess UConn’s preparedness and response plans regarding COVID-19.
The situation regarding this illness is fluid and can change quickly. The university will send regular updates to the community as we receive new information and guidance from the CDC.
To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the State of Connecticut or at UConn, nor does the University have any employees or students still within the 14-day post-travel period during which symptoms must be closely monitored to guard against the possibility of the virus.
UConn currently has more than 300 students participating in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including a handful in South Korea. Those students are returning to UConn. The University has no students in China for academic programs at this time. The 88 UConn students currently studying in Italy (Alert Level 2) have been notified that they may choose to remain or leave at this time, and that they will be provided online and remote learning opportunities to complete their academic requirements if they return to the U.S.– University of Connecticut
WEB EXTRA: WATCH: WHO worldwide coronavirus spread timeline as of Feb. 25
Fairfield University is one of the education institutions pulling their students studying abroad in Italy out of the country.
News 8 was the first to report that the university is closing its Florence University of the Arts study abroad program and is requiring all students enrolled in the program to depart Italy.
“A number of factors really went into this decision, so obviously the health and safety are a big priority relevant to what we saw over the weekend in reference to the spread of the coronavirus in that region of Italy,” said Jennifer Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Communication for Fairfield University
A university spokesperson told News 8’s Sabina Kuriakose, “Fairfield University is closely monitoring the evolving situation related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The university has established an emergency preparedness team comprised of campus leaders in consultation with outside experts, to evaluate the epidemic as it relates to our global and local campus communities.”
Fairfield also made the following recommendations and requirements related to study abroad:
- Fairfield has strongly recommended that U.S. Domestic based students, faculty, and staff be prudent in their travel choices in the short term and upcoming months.
- As a precautionary measure, Fairfield University has advised students studying abroad this semester, that travel outside of their immediate area be rescheduled or canceled.
- Given the recent spread of the virus to Italy, Fairfield University is closing the Florence University of the Arts study abroad program and is requiring all students enrolled in this program to depart Italy.
The move impacts 142 students – all juniors – from the university.
The university reports that the students that choose to return will not be returning to campus until at least March 15.
When asked why the step was taken now, the officials told News 8, “We did not take this decision lightly. We know that the enriching learning experiences students gain from being in Florence for a semester are an important part of their formation. There were a number of factors that went into this decision that included health and safety, risk of country quarantines, potential loss of academic credits, as well as timing within the semester.”
Safety is a top concern for students and school leaders.
Anderson explained the students are in the middle of a semester just ahead of midterm exams and “the timing of the decision was essential in order to ensure there was no loss of academic credit.”
Students on campus have mixed feelings about the university’s decision to pull students from their abroad semesters.
John Centopani, a junior, said, with the rapid spread of the virus, “you gotta do what you can. At that point, if you want to have everyone out there, it’s a huge liability.”
Others say, if students who are in the Italy program have been exposed to the virus and come back to campus, they fear for their own health and safety.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN
The University of New Haven (UNH) announced Sunday it is suspending classes in Tuscany, Italy, and requiring its 80 students studying there return to the U.S.
Wednesday, Steve H. Kaplan Ph.D., President of the University of New Haven said in a statement, “Due to the evolving threat of the coronavirus in Europe, we are recommending that students, faculty, and staff currently at the University’s Tuscany campus in Prato, Italy, return to the United States.”
But Sunday, the school announced the students are required to return to the U.S.
We are assisting all students, faculty, and staff in Prato who would like to return to the United States to enable them to do so in the coming days.– Steve H. Kaplan Ph.D., President of the University of New Haven
UNH said their decision was based on consultation with “the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Consulate, the Italian Educational Ministry, the Italian Department of Civil Protection, Italian health authorities, and the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy.”
University officials said any student that chooses to come home has to “self-quarantine” for two weeks at home.
Since the classes in Tuscany are suspended both students who choose to stay and those who return to the U.S. for quarantine will complete their course work for the next few weeks online.
Yale University is advising students and faculty to follow CDC guidelines on travel. In a statement to News 8 Wednesday, the university asked “all travelers arriving to campus from mainland China and from South Korea to complete this registration form and to self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days using these guidelines. Once visitors have completed the form, Yale Health will contact them to provide assistance and further instructions.”
Wesleyan University in Middletown said Wednesday evening that several students are enrolled in at least three of their study abroad programs. The university’s study abroad office is working with students studying in South Korea, trying to either enroll them in different study abroad programs or bring them back to the U.S.
Wesleyan is still evaluating the situation at their campus in Bologna, Italy. They say their program in Paris is not affected at this time, but France has recommended travelers returning from affected areas to be isolated and quarantined.
In a letter to students and families, Quinnipiac University said Thursday, based on the CDC data and recommendations, they are “strongly urging all students studying in Italy to return to the United States.”
We have already been in touch with our partner institutions in Italy, and they have agreed to allow our students to continue their coursework online upon returning to the U.S.
Accordingly, we strongly recommend all students studying in Italy return and complete the semester from their home through the online programming.
If you plan to visit campus once you’re back in the U.S., you must wait a minimum of two weeks after returning to the U.S. in an abundance of caution for the well-being of your fellow students.– Quinnipiac University
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
CCSU said in a statement Thursday, “Out of an abundance of caution, all colleges and universities must immediately suspend or cancel institutionally-sponsored travel to” China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan.
The university urged that “Any students currently traveling in those countries should return as soon as possible.”
EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
In a statement to News 8 Thursday, ECSU said they “have seven students who are studying or scheduled to travel to South Korea, Japan, and Italy.”
The school reports that one of those students has not yet left for their abroad trip, and “is seeking alternative arrangements.”
The other six students who have already arrived in their respective locations are working with CIS (a third-party study abroad service) to be placed, supported, and monitored in “their respective host countries.”
If any of these students need or decide to leave those countries, “they will be able to finish their studies back in the United States online.”
The CIS website shows they have fully canceled their South Korea trip.
SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
As of Thursday, Southern Connecticut State University has said they have not yet made any changes to their study abroad students’ travel plans.