Education Abroad students have the option to stay in Italy (for now) during coronavirus outbreak

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With 400 cases of the coronavirus in Italy, students studying abroad have the option to stay in Italy. UConn is advising students to avoid traveling where Covid-19 has been problematic.  Photo by     JÉSHOOTS     from     Pexels

With 400 cases of the coronavirus in Italy, students studying abroad have the option to stay in Italy. UConn is advising students to avoid traveling where Covid-19 has been problematic. Photo by JÉSHOOTS from Pexels

University of Connecticut students studying abroad in Italy can continue their studies abroad despite the coronavirus outbreak in the country if they choose to, according to university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz.  

The International Studies Institute in Florence and Umbra Institute in Perugia — the two universities UConn abroad students are attending — have not closed yet. 

“The situation is fluid and could change.” Reitz said in an email.  

According to BBC, there are 400 cases of coronavirus in Italy. The outbreak has killed 12 people in Italy so far. 

Reitz said if students decide to stay in Italy, return to the U.S. or their home country, arrangements are in place with the programs which would allow students to finish their coursework either online or remotely for a grade if the universities close.  

According to Reitz, 88 UConn students are currently abroad in Italy. They are all safe and healthy.  

“UConn is advising students to avoid travel to affected areas where Covid-19 has been problematic, such as the Lombardy and Veneto regions of northern Italy’,” Reitz said.  

Reitz also said students are advised to follow instructions provided by their programs when traveling outside of Italy.  

“We also are advising them to closely follow the rules and guidelines of their host program when deciding whether to travel out of Italy on trips, given other countries’ decisions on border restrictions,” Reitz said.  

An email was sent to students abroad in Italy to review the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for further information.  

Ellie Willis, a fourth-semester actuarial science major currently in Florence enrolled at the International Studies Institute in Florence (ISI Florence), says students are returning home as a precaution, but she will stay in Florence unless told it is unsafe. Willis said she is not worried about getting the virus but is more concerned about getting quarantined or being unable to leave the country  

 “I am not too worried at the moment,” Willis said in a Facebook message. “I think that the concerned atmosphere here is driven by hysteria and concerned parents.” 

Willis said the cities are still busy, and there is food in the grocery stores. Willis said some people are wearing protective masks around the city. They get email updates at least twice a day. 

“Our schools (both UConn and ISI) are telling us to remain calm and continue with our lives as normal- but they want us to pay close attention to our health (washing hands constantly, seeing a doctor as soon as we show symptoms),” Willis said in a Facebook message. 

At the time of publication, both universities plan on resuming classes after their breaks, according to Reitz.  

Education Abroad did not provide a comment. 


Olivia Hickey is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at olivia.hickey@uconn.edu. She tweets @oliviahickeytv.

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