Barcelona abroad program suspends classes after visiting student contracted COVID-19

A study abroad program in Barcelona will suspend all classes for two weeks amid concerns over a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Magda Bernaus, the director of the CIEE Barcelona program, said in an email obtained by The Hatchet Monday that officials decided to cancel classes after a Vanderbilt University student who visited Barcelona in early March contracted the virus. Program officials will reach out to students “soon” about their classes moving forward, the email states. 

Vanderbilt University officials announced Monday they will cancel in-person classes until at least March 30 and may move classes online for the remainder of the semester.

Bernaus directed students who had “close contact” to the COVID-19 infected individual to self-isolate, remain in their lodging, avoid contact with others and report their symptoms to officials. The CIEE Barcelona office will be closed during the suspension, but students can access support services via email and phone, according to the email.

GW canceled study abroad programs in China and Italy late last month and implemented a moratorium last week on non-essential GW-affiliated international travel through July 1.

University President Thomas LeBlanc announced last week that students returning to the United States from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea must “self-isolate” off-campus for 14 days before returning to GW. Columbian College of Arts and Sciences officials also encouraged faculty in the school to prepare to move classes online, but officials have not formally announced plans to switch to virtual courses.


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