The University of Wisconsin announced last Friday the spring break study abroad program in Germany and summer study abroad programs in China, Italy and South Korea are suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In an email sent to students today from Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Blank confirmed for the next 30 days UW is canceling and suspending all upcoming university-sponsored travel to countries severely impacted by the coronavirus. Blank wrote that the number of impacted countries and programs will likely expand as the disease progresses.
According to a statement released by University Health Services, approximately 95 students who have already enrolled in these programs will be affected.
“The health and safety of UW–Madison participants remains our number one priority,” the UHS statement said. “UW Study Abroad, in conjunction with other University of Wisconsin administrators — as well as internal and external experts — continues to closely monitor and review developments related to COVID-19 and travel safety as they become known, and will provide updates and further guidance as needed.”
In an email sent to UW students in late February, Blank warned students of the coronavirus’ “growing potential to disrupt international travel during UW-Madison’s Spring Break.”
The most recent email from Blank specially addressed the rapidly changing protocol for countries affected by the coronavirus and noted it was a large concern.
“We strongly advise [students] to reconsider non-essential personal or business travel away from Dane County,” Blank wrote in the email. “Documented cases are growing rapidly both domestically and internationally.”
Blank wrote traveling students face a higher risk of infection and potentially significant delays returning to Madison, which may lead to the required self-isolation upon return. Blank said all of these factors could “significantly impact your professional and personal obligations at great individual expense.”
In an email sent to UW students from UHS, students and staff who are impacted by the circumstances are encouraged to reach out to campus resources for support.
According to the UHS coronavirus resource page, UW expects there will be some students who encounter financial hardship due to the impact of the coronavirus on families, travel and academics.
There are multiple resources listed on the site to aid students financially hurt by these circumstances. Some main resources include the Dean of Students short term crisis loan, the International Student Services long term loan, deferred tuition payment options and other emergency funding options.
In addition to reaching out to campus resources, Chancellor Blank encouraged students to check both the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control for current updates. She said students should check for the latest updates as posted via University Health Services.
“We ask that you take your own health, and that of others, under serious consideration during this epidemic,” Blank wrote in the email.