WXXI AM News

Area colleges and universities overseas programs impacted by coronavirus concerns

Feb 26, 2020

Credit www.naz.edu

Due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, a number of colleges and universities across New York state are looking at the possibility of alternate plans for students and staff in terms of programs held in other countries.

At RIT, spokesperson Ellen Rosen says that school currently does not have any university programs in Italy, and none are planned over the next few months. They do have fewer than a dozen of our students in Italy participating in programs affiliated with other universities. RIT officials are in contact and advising them to follow protocols and advice from the Centers for Disease Control.

At Nazareth College, president Daan Braveman issued a statement which said in part:

Because of the spread of the virus in Italy and the potential impact on our students’ health, safety and freedom of movement, we decided today to suspend our programs there. Those students currently in Italy will return to Nazareth, and we are developing plans to ensure that they can complete their semester here.

We currently have study abroad programs in other countries and we also have programs scheduled for later in the year. We will monitor the developments and make a decision whether to proceed with those programs as we obtain more information. We would prefer not to have to cancel those programs, but will give top priority to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Finally, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our summer SAFE program, which enrolls students from Asia.” 

The SAFE program is a program where each year, Nazareth hosts students from all over the world for summer and winter break language programs that last a few weeks.

At St. John Fisher College, spokesperson Kate Torok released this statement:

"St. John Fisher College is in continuous communication with our study abroad affiliate partners who are closely monitoring the developing Coronavirus situation.

Our affiliate partners consult with the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization on the risks associated with travel to different areas of the world. We have communicated with all students who are abroad this spring, urging them to stay informed and follow program affiliate and governmental directives as they happen. 

Our affiliate partner for the South Korea program notified us earlier today that they are cancelling the program, but they are working diligently to arrange alternative locations for those students. As of now, the affiliate program in Italy plans to remain open, but with limited activities.  

On campus, we have issued a spring break travel advisory to all students encouraging them to exercise caution and avoid restricted areas. We have also activated our emergency response planning team, who is working through details should we need to adjust accommodations for students abroad or students returning home."

At the College at Brockport, spokesperson John Follaco released this statement:

"We are closely monitoring the situation and are in regular communication with students in our study abroad programs and our partner institutions. The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We will continue to follow and inform students of the Department of State and CDC recommendations and take actions as appropriate."

At SUNY Geneseo, Samuel Cardamone, Director of Study Abroad, said that, “The situation is evolving, and the Study Abroad Office at SUNY Geneseo is continuing to monitor major news sources as well as trusted governmental and nongovernmental sources. We are also in close communication with our partner institution in Italy. At this time, SUNY Geneseo has made no decision to cancel programs In Italy.