Officials to cancel Italy study abroad programs amid threat from COVID-19

Administrators have informed students participating in study abroad programs in Italy to leave the country amid an outbreak of coronavirus, according to an email obtained by The Hatchet.

The email states that students enrolled in programs and exchanges in Italy are “asked to immediately undertake plans to depart” and to work with their program providers and academic advisers regarding academic planning. The message from Kim Rush, the manager of advising services in the Office for Study Abroad, cites an “elevated risk level” announced Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and urges students not to “delay arranging departure.”

“Contact your airline and prepare to depart,” the email reads. “GW Study Abroad will update you on details.”

Italian cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus strain spreading around the world, have reached 650, including 17 deaths, NPR reported Thursday. The U.S. State Department’s Level 3 alert for the country urges travelers to Italy to reconsider their plans.

The cancellation of the study abroad program in Italy is the fourth cancellation this academic year. Administrators canceled programs in Hong Kong in November and Chile in December following violent protests in those areas and announced that student travel restrictions to China, the center of the COVID-19 epidemic, will be extended through the end of March.


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