UConn abroad students are urged to return home 

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Two local women pull their trolleys in their way to the supermarket in Venice, Monday, March 2, 2020. The coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy has so overwhelmed the public health system that officials are taking extraordinary measures to care for the sick, seeking to bring doctors out of retirement and accelerate graduation dates for nursing students. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Two local women pull their trolleys in their way to the supermarket in Venice, Monday, March 2, 2020. The coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy has so overwhelmed the public health system that officials are taking extraordinary measures to care for the sick, seeking to bring doctors out of retirement and accelerate graduation dates for nursing students. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Students participating in the University of Connecticut’s Education Abroad programs in Italy and South Korea are urged to return to the United States as soon as possible. Students must quarantine themselves for 14 days before returning to any UConn campus, according to an email from university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz. 

“UConn currently has more than 300 students participating in overseas academic programs in 29 nations, including a handful in South Korea and 88 in Italy, all of whom are returning to UConn,” according to the email from university communications. “The University has no students in China or Iran for academic programs at this time.” 

The email said students returning from overseas will be able to complete their requirements online and remotely. University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in an email that specifics including how long students can remain abroad and other logistics are being worked out. 

 “Please rest assured that working in collaboration with our state and local health departments, we feel prepared to respond to any cases of COVID-19 that might present themselves on our campuses or at UConn Health,” Reitz’s email said. 

Ellie WIllis, a fourth-semester actuarial science major studying abroad in Florence, Italy, said in a Facebook message she will be returning after break, but trusts the decision made to send students home. 

“I’m pretty disappointed with everything,” Willis said. 

Willis said when she left for Florence for Spring Break everything seemed fine, but they received emails letting them know the CDC moved Italy to a level 3. She said they also received an email with a letter from Florence’s mayor saying everything was fine. 

“So I’m mainly confused and disappointed,” Willis said. “But I trust the CDC and UConn’s decision to remove us.” 

Italy is at “Level 3-Avoid Nonessential Travel—Widespread Community Transmission,” according to the CDC website.  

The CDC website advises not to travel to Lombardy and Veneto due to the high level of virus transmission and local quarantine procedure’s presence. The CDC website says these regions are where most cases in the country are being traced back to, along with cases elsewhere in the world. 

“CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy,” the website says. “There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.” 

According to the New York Times, there are 1,694 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy and 34 people have died.

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Connecticut or at UConn, according to the email.  

At the time of publication, Education Abroad was unavailable for 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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