With Spring Break Travel Around The Corner, Penn State Prepping For Coronavirus Response
As coronavirus continues to spread, Penn State University is planning for both the short-term and the long-run, including restricting some overseas trips.
Spring break is next week, and Penn State Provost Nick Jones said the university is getting ready.
“At the end of the day it is difficult for us to manage the travel of thousands of students," Jones said. "That said, what we are trying to prepare for is the return of those students.”
The university is putting together 12 taskforce groups focused on coronavirus issues including the possibility of courses getting interrupted and changes in graduation ceremonies.
The university has already restricted Penn State-affiliated travel to countries on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control "Warning Level 3" list, including China, South Korea, and Iran.
Penn State is also bringing back about 237 students from Italy, and requiring them to self-quarantine for 14 days, in keeping with CDC recommendations. Jones said the university is putting accomodations in place so students will be able to complete the coursework in the program, even if they will be missing out on living there.
“We’re actually preparing contingency plans to bring students back from all locations should the need arise,” he said, adding that they're also planning for students who had been looking to study abroad, but who might not be able to now.
Programs in Japan and Vietnam were also canceled.
The university is following the guidelines from the CDC and World Health Organization. Jones said the university is asking everyone in the community to be prudent and recognize the seriousness of the situation.
"We're really depending on the public spirit and common sense of students, faculty and staff to monitor themselves and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others," he said.
There are no known cases of coronavirus at Penn State or in Pennsylvania at this time.