Local colleges, universities take proactive approach in response to coronavirus

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ST. LOUIS – As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report there are 129 cases of coronavirus in the country. Eleven people have died from it; all in the state of Washington. with the virus spreading, local colleges are watching health reports and making plans to keep students as safe as possible.

The University of Missouri in Columbia has canceled all university-related travel to San Antonio until further notice, citing 11 cases of coronavirus in the Texas city. A trip with faculty and students was planned for this week.

“It seems irresponsible on our part to not halt such travel, knowing that students could potentially be exposed, given the declaration of a health emergency in San Antonio,” said Latha Ramchand, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri. “The university is not permitting any travel to China, South Korea, and Italy because of the CDC’s travel advisories."

Washington University of St. Louis had 35 students studying abroad in Italy this spring semester but they’re requiring them to leave the country per the CDC’s level 3 risk travel assessment.

“We're assisting students with travel and other accommodations as needed, and they will be subject to health screenings and other requirements upon their return to the US," said Susan Killenberg McGinn, Washington University public affairs.

Meanwhile, Saint Louis University says the only study program the school operates is on its second campus in Madrid, Spain. At present, there are no plans to end study abroad programs at SLU-Madrid early.

As far as spring break, the universities have recommended no independent travel outside of the country during this time.

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